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Publisher's Summary

The sheriff's deputy at the front door brings hard news to Ree Dolly. Her 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.

Ree's father has disappeared before. The Dolly clan has worked the shadowy side of the law for generations, and arrests (and attempts to avoid them) are part of life in Rathlin Valley. With two young brothers depending on her and a mother who's entered a kind of second childhood, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. She has grown up in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks and learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But along the way to a shocking revelation, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.

©2006 Daniel Woodrell (P)2010 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Like his characters, and especially his teen characters, Woodrell's prose mixes tough and tender so thoroughly yet so delicately that we never taste even a hint of false bravado, on the one hand, or sentimentality, on the other. And Ree is one of those heroines whose courage and vulnerability are both irresistible and completely believable - think of not just Mattie Ross in True Grit but also Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird or even Eliza Naumann in Bee Season. One runs out of superlatives to describe Woodrell's fiction. ( Booklist)
“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.” ( Publisher’s Weekly)
“In spare but evocative prose, Woodrell depicts a harsh world in which the responsibilities for survival ultimately give Rees meaning and direction. He depicts the landscape, people, and dialects with stunning realism. A compelling testament to how people survive in the worst of circumstances.” ( School Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Brooks
  • Greensboro, NC, United States
  • 09-04-10

A Masterpiece

I have listened to audiobooks for 10 years at about 15 books per year. I have loved many books but I have never been moved to write a review before. "Winter's Bone" is a remarkable book. It is "The Road" (whose language I loved, which I found too bleak to finish) but with a more human scope that makes the directness and frequent brutality of the story moving rather than depressing. It is written in spare but evocative language that cuts straight through to the essence of the story and its characters. The narrator is perfect for the role. This is an absolute must listen. Do not skip this book. It will stop you in your tracks.

36 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Stunning combination of story and narration...

A masterful melding of language that paints vivid, photograph-quality pictures of hardscrabble life in the Ozarks, with narration that conveys the authenticity in every word of tragedy and survival. Although far too short, this is by far among the very best of the many Audible selections I've enjoyed. I look forward to more from this author and narrator!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lauren
  • 01-23-12

Dark and Beautiful

Anyone who reads even the first page of Winter's Bone will not deny that Daniel Woodrell can write. This book centered on the milieu, and on the struggle of the main character, Ree, who is one of the toughest heroines I've ever encountered. This book is a tutorial in how to write strong women.

The violence and grittiness of the story fit the subject matter, and the resolution of the book was satisfying. The only thing that kept this book from being five stars was Woodrell's propensity for spinning Ree's internal metaphysical experiences out a little too long, and a little too often. Those moments occasionally worked, but often distanced me from Ree and made me question the veracity of her voice.

Read this book for Ree, Teardrop, and Gail. Read it for a tough heroine and a fascinating milieu that will make you look closer at the world around you. The audio version of this book is excellent, and highly recommended.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Now I Want to see the Movie!

This was an interesting book and I quite enjoyed it. The story is based on the lives Ozark mountain people. These are people who live by their own codes and backward ways. The writer really captured the people and the setting. All the characters were spot on. The dialect was bit hard at first but I got used to it as the story went on. I am a huge fan of Emma Galvin and I thought her voice was perfect for this story.

It's a Great I want to watch the movie to see if it's just as good.

Ps... I wonder if these reviews are worth the time and effort. If my reviews help will you click on the helpful button to let me know. Thanks

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • CrzGzr
  • Northwest North Carolina
  • 02-27-11

Riveting and Powerful

I saw the movie and was stunned, it really captures the rural meth reality gripping so much of our country. It's heartbreaking. The book is even better. The movie was 'everywhere america' but the book is totally Ozarks, clannish, primitive and fascinating, the characters give you a glimpse into a community that developed in isolation and defies hope. Well written, perfectly developed, wonderfully narrated.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jay
  • Alexandria, VA, United States
  • 12-03-10

A Chilling Look at Poverty in Appalachia

Galviin's voice, at once childish and slightly hoarse, is the perfect one to read this story. Woodrell's descriptions are always shaded with violence and desperation, and this tale of abject poverty in the snowy mountains of Appalachia benefits from all of them. Winter's Bone brings the reader into a the kind of world where you start to understand why hundred-year feuds still exist. The protagonist, a young girl named Ree, is already hardened but not invincible. As she navigates through fights with meth addicts and ignorant backwoods you start to believe she's on the most important mission of her life.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • JWM
  • United States
  • 03-24-11

enthralling, like the movie

First I saw the movie. A great movie, kept me on the edge of my seat. Talking about oscars, the oscars deserved this movie. But I didn't get everything, didn't understand why things went as they went. So I bought the audiobook. Read by Emma Galvin, it took me some time to get used to her voice, her intonations. Listened to her reading the book, in my car commuting, twice. I got enthralled by it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

What Was That?

The best part of this audio book is the performance.

The story is an incoherent mashup of something like Sally Field saving the farm and Deliverance.

The ending is particularly screwy. It could hold your interest though. It's like a bad movie. You walk through the TV room on your way to putting away laundry and catch just a minute...and you stand there for 5 minutes....then you put the clothes away and watch the rest of it unless distracted by....anything.

You'll get through it but don't expect a Pulitzer sleeper.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kyle
  • Seattle, WA
  • 04-11-11


I'm glad this book was short because it was B-L-E-A-K. It was well-written and excellently narrated. Because it was succinct, I didn't find the bleakness overpowering. If this had been a long book, I don't think I could have finished it. Definitely worth a listen.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 02-25-11

AudioBook Masterpiece

The book was a good read, the movie was pretty good...this audio book is a masterpiece!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful