21 March 2011

Winter's Bone

I was drawn to the novel Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell after hearing all the buzz about the film version.

The novel focuses on 16-year-old Ree Dolly who lives in poverty in the Ozarks. Ree is responsible for caring for her two young brothers and her mentally ill mother, though she dreams of joining the Army and escaping one day.

Her father, Jessup, a nearly legendary master of cooking meth, has left the family once again. When Ree finds out that he has put the family home up as collateral for his latest bond and that if he doesn't show up for court in a week she and her family will be kicked out, she sets out to find him.

Ree encounters a lot of resistance along the way from extended family and neighbors who do not like her asking too many questions. She refuses to give up and things reach a head when she pushes too hard - and is pushed back.

Highlighting family ties, friendship, loyalty, and persistence within a bleak, isolated community, Winter's Bone is a lyrical and compelling portrait of a world many of us are unfamilar with but which surely exists. You won't soon forget Rees Dolly or her clan.

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