Every summer, the library book group picks the books for the year. When I saw that the February book was Winter’s Bone by Daniell Woodrell, it didn’t mean anything to me, I hadn’t heard of the book or the author. Then in January the Oscar nominations were announced and Winter’s Bone was everywhere.
Winter’s Bone is the story of Ree Dolly, a high school dropout who takes care of her siblings (boys in the book, a boy and a girl in the movie) and her mom who has had some kind of psychotic break and just sits in a rocking chair all day. Her father Jessup, a meth cook, fails to show up for a court date, and Ree goes on a search to find and bring him home. Jessup put the family house and land up as collateral and if he doesn’t appear in court, Ree and her family will lose their home.
Winter’s Bone is one of those movies that is very closely based on the book, though there are a few differences. The aforementioned siblings is one, but the book has an overall bleak, hopeless feel that the movie doesn’t quite portray. The book group spent some time discussing whether Ree had a chance in life, or if she was destined to continue the way her family always has. The book left Ree with some opportunities that weren’t in the movie, but the movie also didn’t as successfully convey the path she might go down if things don’t work out for her. The setting of the Ozarks has a greater importance in the book, as does the abject poverty and interpersonal relationships of the Dollys and their relatives.
The film version of Winter’s Bone is such a close portrayal of the book that very little is missing. Dialog is taken verbatim and only a handful of scenes were added. However as with most movies based on books, the book is the better story.
Nancy writes about her 2 boys and life in Colorado at Life With My Boys.
I’ve been curious about this one since the pre-Oscar hype. I’m rarely pleased with movie adaptations of books, so I’d probably be better off only doing one of these. 🙂