Saturday, April 16, 2016

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

4 Stars
Before we kick things off, here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice: Don’t read this when it’s 40-some degrees and the wind is blowing out of the North at a steady 15-20 MPH while you’re stuck outside at your kids’ ballgames all day. The title ain’t lying – it takes place in winter and the author does a good job of reminding you just how wintery things are . . .

The story begins with 16 year old Ree evaluating her surroundings. Winter is fast approaching, the wood pile isn’t big enough, the cupboards aren’t full enough, the clothes aren’t warm enough. But believe it or not, Ree has bigger things on her mind – mainly that her daddy has been MIA for a while. Now, ol’ Jessup Dolly was never going to win a father-of-the-year award (most crank cookers don’t), but at least he’d drop by some food or money when he wasn’t with the family. Now it turns out Jessup has jumped bail and Ree’s family will lose what very little they have unless Ree can track him down . . . dead or alive.

That’s your story folks. A little girl forced to grow up ahead of her time due to her deadbeat father and batshit mother, drop out of school to take care of her family, battle the elements (of both the weather and criminal varieties), and do it all because she maintains a dream that she’ll make it to her 18th birthday, join the Army and escape once and for all.

In case you need it spelled out for you, this book is freaking BLEAK . . . .

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And even a nutcase like me couldn’t help escape having a feeling or two. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain I knew that this was a movie, but I didn’t know that it was THE movie that started J-Law on her path to most sought after leading lady in Hollyweird until after I was finished and IMDB’d it. If I ever stumble across the film on one of the movie channels, I’ll probably watch it, but for now Daniel Woodrell’s writing painted such a clear picture that I already feel like I watched it.

Recommended to anyone who likes to make themselves depressed on purpose like I do. What can I say? I’m not normal . . .

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This review is kind of half-assed (even compared to usual). Work is nuts and right now it’s more important for me to stuff my face with Jimmy John’s than write this thing up on my lunch hour. Go read Trudi’s review instead. She uses words and stuff.

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