Customer Reviews


56 Reviews
5 star:
 (43)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary backwoods
A really great novel from a too little known American author. It is easy to read with the feeling and pace of a thriller, however the dark hills and woods of the Ozark mountains give this novel an edgy maleovolent feel. Ree is a great heroine, tough but not macho, and her search for truth against a backdrop of ancient feuds and tensions makes the book hard to put down...
Published on 18 Feb 2007 by Forester

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow Burner
I found the first 2/3 of the book a bit of a slog to get through. I found the writing style a bit unnecessarily wordy, and early on thought I'd give up on it.

However, once the pace picked up I did enjoy it more and found the conclusion quite gripping.
Published 5 months ago by shoeobsessor


‹ Previous | 1 2 36 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True grits, 22 May 2011
By 
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Paperback)
A gripping tale set in a clannish backwoods community, with a gritty young heroine and tension screwed tight as a deadline approaches. Ree Dolly's father, who cooks methamphetamine for a living, has disappeared and Ree needs to find him before the family home is forfeited to the bondsman. One of her crazy kinfolk knows where he is but nobody's telling and nobody wants her asking. The story will draw you in from the first page and you won't want to come out despite the bone chilling cold, the fried squirrel for breakfast and the frightening crackhead uncles. A brilliant read without disappointment that left me wanting more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad and telling novel about a girl's quest, 6 Mar 2011
By 
Maxine Clarke "Maxine of Petrona" (Kingston upon Thames, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Paperback)
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell is a poetic novella set in the Ozarks - the impoverished and (in this book) icily cold mountain region of Missouri and Arkansas. Ree Dolly is a 16-year-old member of one of the clannish and impoverished families of the area, and the book describes her Homeric search for her missing father, who has put up the family house as security against a court appearance. The privations experienced by Ree as she pursues her apparently hopeless quest, against a background of trying to keep her small family together, are horrific. The hideous ramifications of "crank" (methamphetamine) production, the modern moonshine, are so intensely conveyed that I sometimes could barely read on. Yet the book is not gratuitous - rather I kept wondering why Ree let herself suffer so. We know she dreams of joining the US Army, but why does she stay in this closed community - closed to the assistance of education, medicine and the law? I was answered by the end of the book, when Ree's Greek tragedy is played out: like Frodo, she has played by the only rules that can matter for her, and she receives her reward. A desperately sad book, brilliantly conveying the histories and culture of these people, and one that won't leave you in a hurry.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wintry masterpiece, 4 Sep 2010
By 
J. H. Bretts "jerard1" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Paperback)
This is the story of a quest in the Ozarks in the dead of winter. Sixteen year old Ree Dolly's criminal father has gone missing and if she doesn't find him she and her family will be made homeless by the bondsman. Daniel Woodrell has created a classic with this novel, which deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as books like Deliverance and All The Pretty Horses (though it is completely original). Hopefully the film version will bring it to the wider audience it deserves. It has great characters, huge atmosphere and a mesmerising style.

Strongly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Winter's Bone: Daniel Woodrell, 25 July 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Paperback)
This is a very bleak, sparse narrative, following the struggle of a young woman to hold her family (ailing Mum and two young brothers) together against the background of a frighteningly dysfunctional culture, the 'poor whites' of the Ozark region of the US. It is a damning indictment of the current, dominant 'You can have it all' US culture, laying bare the rancid underbelly of the American Dream. The society in which she moves is feral, where it is almost literally a 'dog-eat-dog' struggle for an amazingly basic way of life. Paradoxically, her peers and relatives consider themselves bound by ideas of family loyalty, and the extreme disparity between their fantasy of 'family' and what they actually do to each other is drawn out in excruciating, unsparing detail.
There is some hope, in that the main character does succeed in her immediate aim of keeping a roof over her and her family's heads. Yet one is left with a chilling sense of the profound horrors that people will endure, and still continue to exist, day after day, year after year.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yeah, good book., 27 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Kindle Edition)
Well written, good storyline, believable characters. The film of it wasn't as good as the book, and had some unnecessary changes. (Why has she got a sister and brother in the film, and two brothers in the book. Totally pointless change.) one or two parts of the book could possibly have left some people confused if the weren't aware of the history of some of the Ozark families. The reference to their descent from " the walking people" for instance; you would to know that this was how Irish travellers referred to themselves in Gaelic to understand that the Dolly family were actually descended from travellers, (or Tinkers, as they used to be called), to realise why the whole notion of kinship is so central to the book. Having said that, I'll still give it four stars out of five. A good read. W. Kavanagh
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Gem!, 30 Dec 2012
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Paperback)
Ooh, this is a goodie! The deceptively simple prose masks a suberb, hard-hitting writing style which makes you want to re-read passages for the sheer beauty of the writing. Set amidst the desolate Ozark Hills of Southern Missouri, this is the story of feisty teenager, Ree Dolly, who undertakes the daunting task of tracking down her feckless father before he breaks the terms of his bail and loses the family home. Ree already lives on the edge, trying to keep the wolf from the door and she is advised in no uncertain terms to give up the search for her father.

This is a short but powerful novel with the pace and intensity of an excellent thriller coupled with the elegant prose of a literary novel. Expect blood, gore, anarchy, drugs - who said it was quiet in the sticks?? I believe there has been a highly acclaimed movie adaptation so that is next on the to be watched list. Definitely my top read for 2012, I have to read more from this author.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The film.......then the book, 18 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Kindle Edition)
I was very moved by the extraordinarily beautiful film and, unusually for me as I prefer to do it the other way round, I then bought the book........and was not disappointed. The rich descriptive writing paradoxically conveys the starkness of Ree's life adding another dimension to the images I already had in my mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising with a strong heroine, 19 Jan 2012
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Paperback)
I picked up this novel aware of the recently released award winning film (I have yet to see it). The dust jacket and opening pages were filled with gushing praise for author Daniel Woodrell. The story intrigued me and I wanted to see for myself whether the book lived up to the hype.

The story sees a 17 year-old girl, Ree Dolly, who has a missing father, a depressed and reclusive mother and two young brothers to look after. She is really up against it living in a poor rural area in the Ozarks of Missouri. One day her already harsh world is shattered when the local Sheriff tells her that her father has put up their house for his bail and unless he shows up for his trial in a week's time, they will lose it all.

She knows her father is involved in the local drug trade and manufactures crank (crystal meth), but everywhere she goes in her quest to find him the message is the same: stay away and keep quiet. In the bleak harsh winter surrounded by snow, ice and hostility Ree presses on undaunted to save her family.

I must say that this novel totally captivated me. Woodrell's writing style is sparse, tight and above all mesmerising. His descriptions of the Ozarks and the conditions Ree encounters are so vivid and that you feel you are standing there with her feeling the icy wind on your face.

The growing unease and the hostility she encounters as she looks for him hit hard and totally convince. I found myself really concerned for her wellbeing which is irrational as she is a fictional character in a book but once again is testament to Woodrell's skills as a storyteller!

This is a tough, close-knit, suspicious world where outsiders are not welcomed and old feuds last for decades. Woodrell has an excellent ear for dialects and expressions and when I read that he is from the area he is writing about I was not surprised. He has not only captured the beauty and the danger of this part of America but he has provided us with a thrilling and gripping novel with an original and compelling heroine.

I wholeheartedly agree with the critics that grace the jacket of this book. It is a masterpiece, not just a great thriller but something that has managed to capture a certain time and place with great skill. Read it and you will not be disappointed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 4 Oct 2011
By 
Amazon Customer - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Paperback)
One of the best books I've read in a long time. I believe this deserves to be a modern classic. The author has not created some sort of "Deliverance" depiction of violent ignorant hill-billies, instead he has written a book about a harsh but beautiful landscape and the hard, clannish families who have made their homes in this place. Yes these people are flawed, prone to violence and make money from illegal activities, but the author presents them as human beings who have been formed by their environment and history, who live by their own rules and own conducts of behaviour.

The teenage girl at the centre of this tale, is determined to break free of the restrictions of her birthplace, but is pulled into a quest to find her father, that puts her into direct and dangerous conflict with other members of her extended family.

A really excellent book, that is well written and thought provoking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ozark gem, 21 Feb 2011
By 
M. Sundström (Lund, Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Winter's Bone (Paperback)
Short version: excellent read. A definite buy.

Long version
I notice that Amazon helpfully offers "backwoods" among other tag suggestions, and for good reason. This is the hinterland of America where everybody is related to everybody else, and holds a grudge against them too. The economy in the Ozarks seems to revolve around "cooking", and rather more violent crime. Seventeen year old Ree Dolly ("a Dolly bred and buttered") belongs to one of these extended, and pretty squalid clans, and she faces utter destitution unless she can find her father - and find him in a hurry. That's the surface story, but the theme is when the ties of blood are thick enough actually to mean anything. Who, in your own large and far-flung family, would you help, if that help required anything substantial? In the Ozarks where rough men are easily offended, and offense taken means lifes taken, this question counts.

For some reason, I have of late homed in on American "unfortunates". Winter's Bone was preceded by Suttree (Cormac McCarthy), and "Ham on Rye" (Charles Bukowski). Both books have been lauded as among the respective authors' best works. Squalor you get aplenty, but Winter's Bone seems qualitatively different. In Ham on Rye (like in all of Bukowski's novels) we follow someone whose black drive will dictate his choices, and spiral him down and out. In Suttree we get a similar notion that the subsistence life the protagonist leads is at least in part a matter of choice. In the Ozarks, by contrast, life is imposed on you: it is not something easily swayed by something as ephemeral as choice. Woodrell's portrayal of Lee Dolly is so poignant because of the steel she brings to her ambition to attack the approaching problem head-on, danger and social taboos be damned. Beyond the theme of blood, this is a book about the American Dream - not about where you end up as a result of it, but about the sort of spirit you need to have a go at it.

Should you buy it?
Absolutely. This is a book rich in quality, from the intriguing gallery of characters, to the wonderfully sparse language that Woodrell uses to depict the bleak, midwinter Ozarks - not to mention the powerful thematic undertows - this is unequivocally a grade A product.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 36 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Winter's Bone
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (Hardcover - 5 Jun 2006)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews