Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Kemper might just be the best redneck I know, and I mean that in the most endearing way possible. If I ever need to know about the best lawn ornaments, or how to best utilize my Cool Whip salad bowls, or what to do if I get more than a few IQ points deducted on account of my accent, or if I need to know what to do with the dead body in my backyard, I’d probably try to get in touch with him. And if I ever decide to start a crystal meth operation in my garage, I plan on getting in touch with Daniel Woodrell—he just doesn’t know it yet.
This book might have landed firmly in a brand new category. Wait for it…wait for it…redneck poetic prose. My teeth might have been covered in pop; the bag of Doritos stuffed in the corner of my pantry started looking pretty good, even though I’d just eaten a steak dinner; I wanted to find a beagle with a slightly lopsided ear and a short leash, after I punched out my two front teeth with a Coke bottle. I’ll show all the lovely ladies my farmer’s tan as I ride around on my John Deere, tractor that is, and I plan to wander off in the woods over the weekend and get lost for approximately twenty-four hours.
All I need is a Four Wheeler and I’ll scream yee-haw at the top of my lungs. Life will be pretty nice, but it might be even better within the confines of WINTER’S BONE, as I long as I can continue to live vicariously through Ree Dolly, and not actually have to experience the trials and tribulations of her Ozark-infused life. But she’s one tough walnut sitting rather nicely atop a piece of peach cobbler, and I devoured this prose so fast I might have caused myself a bit of acid reflux, right before I went back for seconds.
The dialogue struck me with as much force as an uppercut, and the abject poverty nearly caused me to start handing out ones. But it’s not all toothless smiles and haphazard grins and next-of-kin. There is hope and promise contained within the sparse prose. You may just have to get the crap kicked out of you first.