Winter's bone - Woodrell, Daniel
Summary: Reaching her sixteenth year in the harsh Ozarks while caring for her poverty-stricken family, Ree Dolly learns that they will lose their house unless her bail-skipping father can be found and made to appear at an upcoming court date. 25,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
/*Starred Review*/ In Give Us a Kiss (1996), Woodrell introduced the Redmonds, marijuana farmers from the Ozarks ("It's a strange, powerful bloodline poetry, I guess, but there's something so potent to us Redmonds about bustin' laws together, as a family"). Now he turns his attention to the Redmonds' archenemies, the Dollys, another family of dirt farmers who thrive on bustin' laws together (crank cocaine being their crop of choice). But this time the Dollys aren't feuding with the Redmonds as much as battling each other. Sixteen-year-old Ree Dolly, who dreams of escaping her family by joining the army ("where you got to travel with a gun and they make everybody help keep things clean") is caught in the crossfire when her daddy jumps bail, leaving her stuck with two younger brothers and the prospect of forfeiting their house if the old man doesn't show up for his court date. To find Daddy, dead or alive, and save the house, Ree must ask questions of her notoriously tight-lipped relatives ("talkin' causes witnesses"). When she keeps pushing for answers, the relatives push back. 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. We called his last novel, The Death of Sweet Mister (2001), "word perfect." If that's true--and it is--this one is word perfecter. ((Reviewed May 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.