Ree Dolly is not the kind of girl that you want to mess with. At only 16, she’s tough as nails. She dropped out of school to help raise her kid brothers and keep the household afloat, which she does by hunting squirrels to fry up for the boys to eat, chopping wood to heat their home, and hoping for the generosity of the family’s many kin in the area. Dad, Jessup, is a crank cooker, and is currently missing. Mom sits in a rocking chair all day, passing time between her morning pills and her evening pills. Ree is the rock.
All is plodding along in the Dolly home until the day that Ree finds out Dad’s court date is quickly approaching with him nowhere to be found, and his bail includes the house and lands that have been owned by the Dollys forever. If he doesn’t show for his court date, Ree, her mom, and the two young boys will be homeless.
Where the bail bondsman has failed, Ree knows she must succeed. Traveling from house to house and town to town, she begins searching for her father and meeting resistance everywhere she goes. The web of people who appear to both know everything and nothing about Jessup’s disappearance grows with every step she takes.
This is a wonderfully written book and the author’s style allows you to hear the voices of Ree’s world in the Ozarks. A quick read, Ree’s story will suck you in quickly and toss you out wanting more. If you enjoy this, check out the movie based on Woodrell’s book, also called Winter’s Bone. It is a fairly close adaptation of the written story.