Review for “The Death of Sweet Mister” by Daniel Woodrell (2002)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This is my second book by Daniel Woodrell (the other having been “Winter’s Bone”) and this sad, dark little book definitely stands with that classic. “The Death of Sweet Mister” is centered around 13-year-old Shug, his alcoholic mother Glenda, and her abusive husband Red. All three live in a rundown house in the Ozarks, fighting for whatever life that remains around them. Red forces Shug to rob houses for the pills he’s addicted to, Glenda finds herself enthralled with a local man with promises of a better life. In the middle of it all is Shug, riding a sad kind of shotgun to their misery.
As much as I liked this book, I can’t say that I loved it. There is violence between the characters here, a kind of unrelenting bleakness that grabs you from the first page and never really lets up until the end. There’s also some really freaky Oedipal kind of shit going on that’s umm…let’s just say, not for the faint of heart. If you can stomach the Southern Dis-comfort of this story, definitely do read this book. You won’t be disappointed.