It is quite rare that I watch a movie and then later find out it was adapted from a book. Winter’s Bone is a relatively recent movie and the book was published in 2006. I highly recommend both, although it is rather dark subject matter. Having read the book after seeing the movie, I think the movie did a pretty good job of capturing the bleak winter countryside, the convoluted family ties, and the way drugs seem to have become the new, more deadly, moonshine.
In both the book and the movie the main character, Ree Dolly, is a high school dropout taking care of her two younger siblings and her mom.
“Mom’s morning pills turned her into a cat, a breathing thing that sat near heat and occasionally made a sound…. Long, dark, and lovely she had been, in those days before her mind broke and the parts scattered and she let them go.”
The tension ratchets up when her dad skips bail. If Ree can’t find her dad, she’ll lose the house and any chance of being able to take care of her family. Her attempts at finding her dad lead to encounters with some scary relatives.
“But the great name of the Dollys was Milton, and at least two dozen Miltons moved about in Ree’s world. If you named a son Milton it was a decision that attempted to chart the life he’d love before he even stepped into it, for among Dollys the name carried expectation and history. Some names could rise to walk many paths in many directions, but Jesups, Arthurs, Haslams and Miltons were born to walk only the beaten Dolly path to the shadowed place, live and die in keeping with those bloodline customs fiercest held.”
If you’re lucky, your public library will have both the book and the movie like mine did!