Winter's Bone: A Novel

Winter's Bone: A Novel

by Daniel Woodrell


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"The lineage from Faulkner to Woodrell runs as deep and true as an Ozark stream in this book...his most profound and haunting yet." — Los Angeles Times Book Review

Ree Dolly's father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date. With two young brothers depending on her, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316066419
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/11/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 71,280
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Daniel Woodrell's five most recent novels were selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and Tomato Red won the PEN West Award for the Novel in 1999. He lives in the Ozarks near the Arkansas line with his wife, Katie Estill.

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Winter's Bone 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 297 reviews.
AllPurposeMonkey More than 1 year ago
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell is the first book since Minette Walters' The Shape of Snakes that genuinely took my breath away. On the surface there is absolutely nothing pretty about the world in which 16-year-old Ree Dolly lives. The people of her community in the backwoods of the Ozark mountains are multiple generations into an existence of poverty, violence and drug addiction; a place where the primary source of income has evolved from making moonshine to cooking crank. Fortunately for Ree her father, Jessup, is in demand as a crank chef, "practically half famous for it." Unfortunately for her and the two younger brothers and mentally ill mother she's struggling to keep fed and functioning, Jessup has gone missing after being released on bond, a bond secured by signing over the family home as collateral, following his most recent arrest. Unwilling to see her family split up if they lose the family's meager homestead, Ree sets out to find Jessup and make him keep his court date. Not only is Jessup nowhere to be found, however, but none of the locals, many of them extended members of the Dolly family, seem inclined to help Ree with her search. In fact, they are downright hostile to her inquiries and seemingly determined to derail her efforts, even by means of violence if necessary. Yet, Ree persists. And throughout it all Woodrell offers glimpses of the hidden beauty lurking beneath the surface of the stark environment, and conveys in no uncertain terms that the people who inhabit it have a deep sense of honor, pride and purpose, just ones that don't necessarily mesh with what most consider normal. Winter's Bone is quite possibly the most 'perfect' novel I've ever experienced. And I do mean experienced, because Winter's Bone is not something that one merely reads. Woodrell demands the reader become fully immersed in the world he's created, taking you along step-for-step with Ree on her journey. And what unfolds over the course of Woodrell's taut 200 page story is a testament to the human spirit. No word is wasted, and the look at Ree's life that is presented is unflinching. Winter's Bone is a book that you not so much 'enjoy' as you do appreciate, and you will. Deeply.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Winter's Bone, Daniel Woodrell's latest Ozarks-centered novel, is a modern-day adventure-quest story about Ree Dolly, a 16-year-old young woman who cares for her feeble-minded mother and her younger brothers while battling to save the family homestead after her father disappears. In Winter's Bone, yesterday's Ozark moonshiners are todays meth cooks, and Woodrell gives a slap-in-the-face stare at their lives. Many of the characters in the book are rough and unlikable. It's chilling to think that there exists in Missouri (where I live) an undercurrent of society depicted in Winter's Bone, yet I'm certain there is. Woodrell's writing is at times breathtaking, and always clear and concise. Winter's Bones is a book I will remember for its sense of place and for the characters Woodrell has painted so vividly with his words. And, although Winter's Bone isn't the most flattering book about the Ozarks and some of its inhabitants, it is a memorable story that's hard to put down. Like the Ozarks' winter depicted in Woodrell's novel, Winter's Bone is stark, intense, and at times beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great! So true yet so sad. It's hard to believe that people really live like this in this day and age but they really do. It was a sad and disturbing story line made all the more sad because it really happens this way today. It ends well but still very sad for Ree. I would love to see another book to take up where this one leaves off so we can keep up with Ree and Gail. My daughter is in the movie version on this book that is being filmed now! Can't wait to see how it does, everyone HAS to go see it! This is a great read but know that it isn't necessarily uplifting, but very thought provoking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having read the few negative reviews here, I have to ask myself what kind of true lover of literature could have "hated" this book and deemed it "no good". Each and every word Daniel Woodruff wrote felt like a deliberate and carefully chosen step, guiding the reader on a journey into a desperate culture that is bleak, yet rich and starkly beautiful. His writing is as succinct as his characters are taciturn, both dialog and narrative display the economy of great poetry. I was caught from the first paragraph by the beautifully wrought imagery, and deliberately slowed my reading pace to experience every nuance of this book. I am an avid reader, I couldn't begin to count the books I've read across every genre, and for me, this is one of the greatest books I have ever nearly perfect as a piece of literature can be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is clealy a classic in the making. The characters are so real I feel like I know them and anyone who has grown up truly country knows that the setting and culture of country people is dead on down to the epidemic of meth in rural areas. Ree has an inner strenth that is subtle yet profound. She's a heroine who would deny doing anything special. Truly this book is amazing with a great mystery element that is resolved brillantly....and I can say with authority very real to what many Americans outside of suburbia experience. There's a whole other America out there and this book can take you there.
ilikthtbet More than 1 year ago
I have to say this is quite a read...Describes in detail the life of the Ozarks and how scary things can be in the isolated world of cooking crank and inbred relationships. Don't go looking unless you want to find the answer...This is a tale of courage, caring, and survival...Daniel Woodrell tells the story in a fascinating and detailed fashion..Well worth the time. Be ready to shake and have your eyes opened wide!
Kell Ann Redhead More than 1 year ago
This is an exceptional read. I couldn't put it down.
BamaBubba61 More than 1 year ago
Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone is a haunting and disturbing testament to the lives of the Ozark Mountain people. He writes with an insider's knowledge that screams authentic. You will be captivated by Ree Dolly as she attempts to hold on to her existence while at the same time longing to be free of it.
NewNooker More than 1 year ago
Took me a while to really get into this book. The dialect is sometimes hard to 'get' but about halfway through I decided I just couldn't put it down. I thought it was pretty good overall but I will be honest and say that I hoped for a little more at the end. I don't know what more I wanted...but just more of a hook.
mscott9985 More than 1 year ago
This beautifully haunting, fast paced drama about a family struggling to survive will stick with me for a long time to come. The story revolves around Ree, a teenage girl who is struggling to give her younger siblings a normal life. Life is hard, but it gets harder when the sheriff shows up at Ree's door to tell her that her family is in danger of losing their house. It seems that Ree's father put it up for bond when he was arrested and then skipped out on his bail. This book is like "Where the Lillies Bloom" with a hard, modern edge. The writing was some of the best I've come across in a long time, and it carries with it a profound sense of place. Although the adult themes are sensitive, the sense of family and kinship keeps the book from becoming too gritty. The relationship between Ree and her childhood friend was also wonderfully developed. My one regret is that the main character did not choose the path I'd hoped she would. I understood Ree's need to protect her family; however, I believe she could have made a better decision. Also, at the crucial moment in the story, she was far more passive than I wanted her to be. I almost had the feeling that she was succumbing to her fate rather than take her future into her own hands. Winter's Bone is a beautiful novel about family and the struggle to survive. I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Winter's Bone' has been selected as the 2007 Read MOre selection. Annually, librarians, booksellers, and others across Missouri encourage patrons to read the novel and discuss it as a part of the state's book club initiative. Enjoy!
TheLoon More than 1 year ago
This is just an excellent book. Not a "fun" read, but there is more to life that is interesting than "fun". But, don't get me wrong, I found the book to be very interesting.
ChrissyN More than 1 year ago
It was a good story line, but I found myself reading paragraphs over and over again to understand what was going on. As another viewer mentioned, I was a little disappointed in the ending...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is such an awesome book. I loved reading about a place that was so copletely different from what I know. I remember when my nook died and I was freaking out to charge it so I could keep reading it. The only thing is that the book is a little hard to understand, but once you re-read it it is totally worth it. P.S. the movie rocks too!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exceptionally well-written book, that I delibrately slowed down reading to enjoy every paragraph. Characters that you will care about and remember long after you have finished reading it. I recommend it highly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First and foremost, I would like to say that Winter’s Bone  is not for everyone.  It is a different kind of read and Daniel’s writing style consists of a large focus on the scenery and what’s happening in the background – something that can be unappealing to some. Quite personally, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. I like it when an author describes a scene so vividly that, as character speaks for example, I’m picturing the leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind. It adds depth and, with a strong enough imagination, provides a feeling that one is actually living in the world of the characters; characters, in this case, that are far different from the ones I experience in real life.  Winter’s Bone begins with Ree Dolly – the heroine of the story - attempting to survive in the harsh environment of the Ozarks with her mentally unstable mother and two brothers. Soon, a local police officer who goes by the name of Baskin informs Ree that her house and the surrounding property has been put up for bond by her father – a man who, at this point, doesn’t seem to be very involved in home life. If Jessup Dolly doesn’t show up, the house will be taken. With this news, Ree goes off on a giant man hunt - asking questions people don’t want to answer and delving into scenarios that would have faltered the bravery of many. On top of all this, she also continues the role of mother and  father towards her siblings. She helps them mature by teaching them how to hunt, to gut, and to cook. The story of Winter’s Bone takes place in the Ozark Mountain chain - a plateau that stretches across the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. What’s interesting about this is that Daniel Woodrell himself spent his childhood here. For me, it added a personal touch to the book  when I knew that the scenery descriptions and knowledge about the problems of the Ozarks came from the author’s own life experiences.   Another personal factor that the author brings into this book comes with the main character, Ree Dolly. She wishes to leave the Ozarks all behind and join the military which is similar to Mr. Woodrell’s experience of dropping out of high school and joining the marines. Of course, there’s more to this novel than just personal connections.  This book does a good job of creating a mystery – a mystery that seems a lot more realistic than some in other novels I’ve read. However, for me, this book didn’t keep me reading because of suspense – or, should I say, lack of – but because the author created a curious urge within me to find out what was happening. Now, I don’t state lack of suspense in a negative way. When a novel ends every chapter with a twist or a suspenseful moment, in an ironic way, it makes the novel somewhat predictable. By the seventh chapter of reading a novel structured like this, I’m saying to myself, “I know there will be a twist” and through educated guesses, I can generally figure out what that twist will be before it even happens. So, in other words, if you enjoy books that end every chapter with some character getting shot or a tornado made of fire and razorblades taking out the ISS, this book probably isn’t for you. If you do decide to give this book a try though, one aspect of this book you may enjoy is the main character, Ree Dolly. Ree Dolly delves into situations that I likely would not have the bravery of confronting. For example, near the beginning of the novel, she starts her search for her father by questioning her uncle who’s nicknamed “Teardrop” – a man who does drugs almost constantly, has a tear drop tattooed under his eye (hence the name), and is scarred on his face from a meth lab explosion. Now, if I had to question a man like this, I’m not sure if I could have brewed enough bravery to walk within twenty feet of his house but somehow, Ree manages to enter it without much hesitation. The fact that she tries her best to stay strong even in the toughest of times gave me some inspiration toward my own problems.  The example above is only a minute example of what Ree puts herself through during the novel. She is definitely a strong character – a character that breaks gender roles consistently and seems to be a sub-theme of the book. As I stated before, Ree Dolly being someone who didn’t take any crap, helped me to enjoy the book. Though there is a strong character and a good mystery, there is an aspect that could turn some away from the book. That aspect would be the pace of the plot. To some, it would seem a bit slow in parts. However, the areas that could be deemed slow allow for the reader to glance into Ree’s life and see her in other situations beside the search for her father. For example, the book has a few scenes about Ree teaching the children how to survive. These scenes – though they could be cut completely from the book and the plot wouldn’t be affected – allows the reader to see what her life is actually like on a day-to-day basis. I enjoyed these parts and am a little disappointed that more books I’ve read don’t show the main characters living their daily lives. Overall, Winter’s Bone is a good book and one I would recommend to others (as long as I knew they enjoyed similar reads). It’s interesting, it allows for a look into a culture unfamiliar to the majority of people, and is different. As I stated before, this book definitely isn’t for everyone especially for people who enjoy a really fast paced plot and constant twists but, if you are willing to try anything, I would tell you to pick up the book and give it a shot. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book. Hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author paints a setting so real the reader can see it. A heart wrenching tale beautifully told.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like coming upon a car wreck, you want to turn away, but you just have to look.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This short little book is truly a tour de force of Southern gothic writing. I saw the movie a couple years ago and was blown away. This haunting, dark, yet inspiring novel blew me to smithereens. If you haven't yet read Woodrell, do yourself a huge favor and start now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not only a quick read, but the kind of book I had to re-read the book immediately.
Anonymous 3 months ago
This book might be deemed better by those from the southern regions. We get it. I got it, and loved it.
SleepDreamWrite 7 months ago
I hadn't heard of the book until after hearing about the movie. So I decided to read the book first. This was interesting. Especially the characters, setting and sometimes the writing style. At first I wasn't sure about it. But the more I read the more I got used to it and wanted to keep reading. For the most part, the movie follows the book okay. Both were good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. The main character, Ree, is a clever, resourceful, no-nonsense character that I couldn’t help but immediately fall in love with and cheer on from the sidelines as she scours all of kingdom come looking for her father, who used their house as collateral when he posted his jail bond. This story gives a dark look into rural poverty as Ree is basically the head of the household, even though she’s sixteen. She cares for her two younger brothers and her mentally-ill mother. She’s fiercely loving of them all and would do anything to protect them and continue to provide for them. Hence why she goes on a wild goose chase to track down her father. Ree comes across many unsavory characters in her hunt, seeing as her father and most of the people associated with her father cook meth, but she is determined. She is extremely strong willed and will stop at virtually nothing until she gets the answers she’s looking for, even if that means putting herself in danger. Though despite her abysmal situation, Ree never gets jaded or hopeless. She knows that life is hard, but she’s willing to work hard, too. She doesn’t lose her love for her family or close friends, but she isn’t a naive girl, and she doesn’t take any crap from anyone. She grew up to be a tough young lady and is preparing her brothers in the same way. This book was dark and haunting, showcasing the lowest of lows, almost to the point of being unrealistic. My heart breaks at the thought that families like Ree’s exist in America today. It was a quick read, though occasionally I got bogged down by the dialect. The main character is strong and plucky, making her an enjoyable character to read about. The prose of the book was very poetic at times, and though for the most part it was beautiful, there were some spots where it was a little too flowery or over-the-top. But I enjoyed this well enough and would probably re-read it again some time in the future.
SofiaAndersson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The quotes on the cover (Annie Proulx and Val McDermid) are for once right in their praise of this book. It is indeed a gem of a novel, exciting, scary and sad. I will try to keep Daniel Woodrells name next time I stand in front of the bookshelves.