Book Review: Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

A solid 4 out of 5 stars.

“Pine trees with low limbs spread over fresh snow made a stronger vault for the spirit than pews and pulpits ever could.”
Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone tells the story of Ree Dolly, a resourceful and tough-as-nails teenager living in poverty in the Ozark mountains. Ree is the binding that holds together her damaged family. The novel follows her as she goes on a quest to find her father so she can force him to attend his court date. If he doesn’t attend, the Dollys will lose their house. The Dolly family have little in way of possessions in life and the house is the one thing that allows them to be able to survive, albeit barely. Ree’s mother is mentally ill and as a consequence Ree is responsible for taking care of the household and her two younger brothers. The weight of the world is on Ree’s shoulders and the world seems to get heavier and heavier as Ree attempts to uncover the tracks left by her father.

The book is beautifully written with many striking passages about hardship and endurance. Ree’s journey is harrowing and at times shocking. I recommend this for readers that like authentic reads. Woodrell really captures the essence of Ree’s environment in the rural Ozarks. He creates a highly believable (and tragic) world in which Ree, a strong female protagonist, must push herself to the limits in order to save her family.

Winter’s Bone is easily one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2016. It is sure to maintain its spot in the months to come.


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