LIFESTYLE | Winter's Bone Book Review

So I picked this up in a charity shop because I love the film (it earned J-Law her first Oscar nomination!) and was keen to see if the book was as amazing as the film. I'm also really into American literature and am always on the lookout for great, modern American authors.



First of all it's a short book with quite short chapters so in that sense it's very easy to read...however the content is not as easy to stomach and I found myself grimacing at times! It's told in the third person focusing on Ree, a 16 year old girl who has to find her meth-making daddy who has been AWOL for a while and needs to return asap because if he doesn't show up for his court date they will lose the house which was put up as part of his bond. This would leave Ree, her two young brothers and mentally ill mother with nowhere to live, so it's pretty important she locates him sharpish! If I were to put this into a genre (although I hate to pigeonhole books!) I'd say this was kind of a crime thriller/mystery but not so much in the traditional sense as I'll explain later.

First up, let me say I love Ree. She's gutsy and determined, a product of the poverty and harsh conditions that she lives in (the rural Ozarks of the US) much like most of the people in the book who are hardened by life. While the majority of the others are unsavoury characters, with Ree we get to see her kindness. She's also brave but in a believable way, I mean she'll do things but still feel nervous and scared...she just seems real. I don't like when you get a hero or heroine who shows no real feeling, when they're too clinical if you get what I mean? I love how the characters speak too, it's good to read a dialogue different to your own and the imagery is so vivid you just get a real sense of what the place and people are like. It's almost like a gangster novel with the unspoken rules and family loyalties. The novel is dark, tense, gritty and downright gruesome at times but I loved it.

I've described this as a crime thriller but it's not so much about what happened to Ree's father because we get an idea very early on about that. I think some people might be disappointed because you won't get all the answers and will still be asking questions at the end which is why I don't see it as a 'whodunnit'. For me it's more about the world that Ree is living in and how she survives.

All in all I recommend this if you're into dark fiction, strong female protagonists and/or American novels. It may be short but (sorry for the cliché) it packs one hell of a punch! I'll definitely be looking out for more of Woodrell's work.

Have you read this book or seen the film? What American literature can you recommend to me? Check out my other book reviews here!

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34 comments:

  1. This definitely sounds worth reading! I love stories that transform you to a different world and have a likeable protagonist so this sounds great :)


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    x

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  2. Sounds like a really interesting book!

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  3. I really need to work on my American literature, because right now, my stars and stripes shelf is pretty puny. Adding this one to my to-read list just because I'm a huge fan of crime thrillers (even if they aren't actual crime thrillers in the essence), haha. Thanks for sharing, Josie!

    May x • Latest Post on The Mayden: Comfort Zone + Favourite Books

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  4. I haven't seen the movie or read the book but you've made it sound very intriguing! I've got an ever-growing list of books on my 'to read' shelf aha! xxx

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  5. You always seem to find such great charity shop bargains! I'm not massively into crime thrillers but I would certainly love to see how Ree survives now too! I reckon if I gave this a go, I'd enjoy it xxx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

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  6. I studied an American Fiction course at Uni this year, one of my favourite books was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath or Lolita is nice but it's quite a hard read. Maybe The Falling Man, that was about 9/11 :) x


    lissyhayes.co.uk

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  7. I haven't had time to read in ages but I'm hoping the summer and some holiday time will get me back on track :) Sophie xx
    www.fashionnomads.com

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  8. I haven't read the book or seen the film but it sounds like a good thriller Lucy x

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  9. I've read this book a few years back (probably three years ago) and you just reminded me how beautiful of a character Ree is.


    Ella
    every LiTTLE thing07

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  10. I love nothing more than a good book, something that you can get your teeth stuck into!
    Jess x

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  11. Really want to read this now! Is it along the same lines as Burial Rites - as in how dark it is? Or worse?

    Faye x

    i wish i could wink

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  12. I've had this film on my watchlist for ages and still haven't got around to watching it! I love your book reviews, yet another one to add to my list! Really wish I had more time to read as my list is getting longer and longer :) xx


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  13. Krissie Rogers19 May 2015 at 12:22

    Sounds like my kind of book! I'll definitely be picking this up :)

    Krissie x - http://pearlsofstyle.blogspot.com

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  14. Oo sounds like a good book! Can you recommend any others? I need a new book to read!

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  15. great review! this sounds very interesting, I'll add it to my goodreads 'to-read' list. I wish I had time/should make time for leisure reading!

    http://splitneedles.blogspot.com

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  16. Great review, you've sold it to me even though this doesn't sound like something I would usually pick up! xx

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  17. This is a brilliant review, I get the feeling this is the kind of book I would really like. I definitely understand what you mean about some protagonists being clinical, I don't like it when all these crazy things are happening to them and it seems like they're not affected by it xx

    Toasty

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  18. Ree is definitely one of my favourite protagonists in a long while! x

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  19. I hadn't read any American authors for a while before this one! x

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  20. The film's on Netflix if you have that :) Jennifer Lawrence is amazing in it x

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  21. I know, there's always so many great books in my local British Heart Foundation! It's great because it's a charity that means a lot to me too so it's good to support them. I think you would, it's a short read too so I reckon you'd get through it quickly x

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  22. It took me a while to get into but I really liked Lolita even though the subject matter was difficult. I think a book about 9/11 may be too hard for me to read but The Bell Jar is most definitely on my to-read list :) x

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  23. Holidays are a great time to get back into reading :) x

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  24. The film's on Netflix :) definitely recommend, the cast are amazing x

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  25. I think she's one of my favourite ever characters! x

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  26. So true! My favourite way to de-stress x

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  27. I would say it's dark in a different way, as in gory and gritty. Burial Rites was so much sadder and emotional! x

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  28. It's definitely worth a watch I say! Oh same, my to-read list is never ending x

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  29. Would love to know what you think if you do get it :) x

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  30. I have other book reviews here :) http://www.josies-journal.com/search/label/Books

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  31. Thank you! I hope you manage to get the time x

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  32. Thank you! Sometimes it's worth trying something different to read :) x

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  33. Thank you! Yeah Ree definitely feels pain (both physical and emotional) so she seems very human and real x

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