Mar 14, 2011
Author: Daniel Woodrell
Publisher: Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: 2006
Award Winning Major Motion Picture
Winner Sundance Film Festival Best Picture
Several Emmy Nominations
This is a powerful story. Bleak, barren, no hope in sight storytelling. The story revolves around violence, desperation, starvation, deep poverty, heavy drug use.
Yet it grips you immediately and you cannot put it down. It reminds me, of my own reactions, to reading The Road a few years ago. I was sore after reading from being so tense.
Ree Dolly has a shit life. Her entire life. She's old and worn before she even hits legal age. She's 16. Always cold, always hungry. The sole caregiver of her family which includes two little brothers and a mother who's mind went on a trip and hasn't come back yet. Ree's daddy has disappeared and come to find, he's put their house up for bond for his last court appearance. He doesn't come back, Ree's out on the land with her dependents.
She decides to find Daddy and make him show at court to save the house. Only one problem. Her entire line of kin folk. Every single one of the family is involved in some way in drugs. Making, selling, passing, snorting. No one talks about other members, no one tells anything.. even to a daughter about to starve with her brothers.
As Ree goes from kin to kin trying to find her Daddy she is threatened, frightened, warned and beat. Yet bizarrely you sense caring behind it all. Ugly threats ensue and then food shows up on the steps. Beatings occur and then the care is given.
I do have to say the ending was extremely gruesome, but also took away from the realistic feeling that I had to the book beforehand. I could envision the entire book, but the end went off the scale.
I'm not sure I want to see the movie, it might be too dark to enjoy. But I do highly recommend the book, I tore through it and was engrossed to the last page.
Daniel has a trilogy collection coming out that that Dew will be reviewing on April 28th - The Bayou Trilogy. Same great writing style, but set in a more urban setting.