Winter's Bone is a gritty story, one where Daniel Woodrell pulls no punches. He is not out to romanticize life in the Ozark Mountains, but illuminate the hardscrabble lives of families living there. He wants us to see the ugly, to feel it in our bones, but there is tremendous beauty here, as well. Ree Dolly, the tough-as-nails protagonist lives in a world that is icy, dark, beautiful, and brutal. I can't recommend this book enough, or anything else by Daniel Woodrell.