Ree Dolly's father has jumped bail, leaving their home forfeit unless Ree can find him before his court date. Will she be able to find her father before she ends up homeless with her two brothers and insane mother?
First off, I have a confession to make. I live in rural Missouri and, therefore, some of the locations depicted in the story seem a lot like places I've driven through at a high rate of speed. Also, I've eaten squirrel on at least two occasions. Now, on to the meat of the review.
Winter's Bone is a lot more than I was expecting when I picked this book up. The terms "country noir" and "hick lit" have been thrown around to describe it so I had a picture in my mind of some kind of rural mystery. Winter's Bone is so much more than that. Daniel Woodrell's prose is something to behold, so much better than I was picturing when I picked up the book.
While the mysterious whereabouts of Ree's father are the central mystery of the book, the way of life of hillbilly crank dealers in the Ozarks is the real star of the show. Ree's quest for her father is an odyssey into a world of cooking meth, living in shacks or trailers, and eating whatever you can shoot. The backwoods life isn't pretty and Woodrell shows it warts and all.
Ree's a tough girl, confronting the worst the back country has to offer and never waivering in her search for her father. She goes through a lot of hell, taking care of her mother and brothers the entire time. She's not as tough as Lisbeth Salander but she more than holds her own.
I guess the highest compliment I can pay this book is that I'll be reading more Daniel Woodrell somewhere down the line. I'd give Winter's Bone a 4+.