Daniel Woodrell's modern classic is an unforgettable tale of desperation and courage that inspired the award-winning film starring Jennifer Lawrence.
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.
"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
Woodrell flirts with but doesn't succumb to clich in his eighth novel, a luminescent portrait of the poor and desperate South that drafts 16-year-old Ree Dolly, blessed with "abrupt green eyes," as its unlikely heroine. Ree, too young to escape the Ozarks by joining the army, cares for her two younger brothers and mentally ill mother after her methamphetamine-cooking father, Jessup, disappears. Recently arrested on drug charges, Jessup bonded out of jail by using the family home as collateral, but with a court date set in one week's time and Jessup nowhere to be found, Ree has to find him dead or alive or the house will be repossessed. At its best, the novel captures the near-religious criminal mania pervasive in rural communities steeped in drug culture. Woodrell's prose, lyrical as often as dialogic, creates an unwieldy but alluring narrative that allows him to draw moments of unexpected tenderness from predictable scripts: from Ree's fearsome, criminal uncle Teardrop, Ree discovers the unshakable strength of family loyalty; from her friend Gail and her woefully dependant siblings, Ree learns that a faith in kinship can blossom in the face of a bleak and flawed existence.
Great overall plot and an ending you won't see coming. Although I wish he could make his books a little longer and deeper, when he spins a description of a place, his less is more style descriptive pros is anything but boring.
I liked the film better because it captured the settings and characters better than the book. Rarely the movie exceeds the book, and in this case, it does. Still, a very flavourful book about a part of our americana.
A very good story with memorable characters. Hoping iBooks will offer more of the author's books in the near future.