Thursday, May 12, 2011

Book Review: Winter's Bone

Book 11/25 in the 2011 Reading Challenge.  Date completed: May 11, 2011.

I haven't been ignoring my blog, honest.  It actually took me this long to get through this book. After my love affair with The Hunger Games trilogy, I was so excited for the upcoming movies that I started looking into them.  I saw that they cast Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and was instantly disappointed because her imdb page clearly shows her to be a blonde girl.  Katniss has dark hair.  Details like this that are ignored in book to movie conversions irritate me half to death.  And just who was this Jennifer Lawrence girl anyway??  I mean, if they'd cast a "big name" blondie to play the role I'd maybe half understand but I've never even heard of her.

So I poked around and found that she starred in a film called Winter's Bone, where she played the role of Ree Dolly - the teenaged daughter of a crank-cooker.  (Is that the proper teminology?  All I know is that throughout the book Ree pointed out frequently that Jessup, her dad, "cooks crank".)

I'm not into drug movies.  I never have been.  I don't like the comedies that feature potheads acting like idiots, and I don't like the whole drug culture.  It's just not my thing.  House is the exception to this rule as I actually quite enjoy him as a Vicodin-popping madman.  Still, though, I wanted to see Jennifer Lawrence's acting to see if I'd change my mind about her being the "wrong" choice for my beloved Katniss.

Winter's Bone is based on a book of the same name, so I of course had to read that before I touched the movie.  I'm weird like that.  I cracked it open early in April and almost chuckled at the fact that it only had 150 pages.  I'd breeze right through this one no problem.  Mwahahaha.

Wrong.  I set this book down a LOT.  I went days in between reading like five pages at a time.  I liked the story but the writing was not my forte at all.  The book is about a family in the Ozarks...  Basically about a backwoods family struggling to get by.  And that's how it's written.  The dialogue was almost painful for me.  So this one took me a while.  And I only gave it a two star rating on Goodreads.  But again, not because the story was bad - I actually quite enjoyed the story.  The style was just really rough for me and getting all the way through those 150 pages was akin to pulling teeth.  By the time I realized it was never going to get any better though I was too far into it to quit.

As a reference, here is a brief passage - no copyright infringement intended:

Harold said, "Some suds got missed."
"We'll get 'em with the next rinse."
Sonny coughed forth a shallow cough and said, "Got'ny more of that syrup?"
"Huh-uh.  You two like it too much."
"It sure gets rid of that scratchy feelin' good, though."
Ice hung from the roof eaves, catching dribbles of melt to become longer and stouter pickets of jagged freeze stretched across the window above the sink.  The sun was weak in the west, a faint smudge behind middling clouds, and low.  Soup stock from deer bones simmered on the stove and steamed a comforting scent.
"Might could mix you some later--but now you watch this.  Watch how to do her hair."
Harold said, "Got suds in her ear still."

Once I finally conquered the book, I was free to watch the movie adaptation.  I thought they did a great job with it and was impressed.  Although my opinion on it may be biased since watching the movie was much easier on me than reading the book.  And I can now vouch for Jennifer Lawrence.  I think she is a great choice for Katniss Everdeen.  Her acting was great and with a bottle of Nice n'Easy, I think she even looks like the Katniss I have formed in my mind's eye.

Glad it's over with and I am free to move on to more lighthearted reads.  And also glad that The Hunger Games put me ahead of schedule for the reading challenge because one book per month is not going to get me through the year.


  1. I cannot tell you how many times I complained to Pat about the casting of Katniss. They chose a pale, brown eyed blond... could they have gotten any farther from the character? I thought about reading this book but if you had trouble reading it then I sure as heck would because I wasn't overly interested in the story line. I just love to read books that were turned into movies. I always figure that they had to be a good book if someone invested the money in making it a movie.

  2. I'd definitely recommend watching the movie over reading the book. This book was a total nightmare for me to get through. Jennifer Lawrence does seem like a pretty worthy actress though so I'm at least hopeful about her playing Katniss. I was really disappointed about the blonde-ness initially. I hope they are going to change her hair for the role. I was predisposed to dislike the Dear John film conversion because they made Savannah a blonde. Seriously, who DOES that??? Lame.


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