More than anything it was really the end that I just couldn’t get down with. 

The noir, murder mystery atmosphere and expertly woven story and the creative and unique language choices grabbed me from the start, which is why I felt so unsatisfied by the ending. Something was missing. By the end of the book I was left wondering: has anything really even changed at all? 

With relatively minimal backstory, the reader is dropped into the world of the story, taken for a ride, and then yanked back out (a technique which I love). At least that’s what I was expecting and hoping for, but, alas, that wasn’t the case. Rather than be yanked out of the story, after bloodshed and drugs and more bloodshed, we are gently placed at the stoop of Ree’s porch to study the horizon and imagine what the next adventure is. A children’s book ending to a gruesome story. 

The last word, “wheels”,  leaves us with the image of Ree embracing freedom and seeing the world as her proverbial oyster, when in fact nothing has really changed. More people will be killed, more crank will be cooked, life will go on. Dead dad or not, Ree is not free and most likely never will be. She is tied to these mountains just like everybody else. Does she know more now than she did before? Yes. Will life change drastically for her now? No, probably not. At least not for a good while. Working your way up from the bottom is no easy task. And yet we’re left with thoughts of hope and feelings of closure. It’s off-putting, considering the story is nowhere near closed and life for Ree is hardly any more hopeful. Generations have lived and died without leaving the Ozarks, and it will be no walk in the park for Ree to be the first to jump ship.

Of course there are going to be questions at the end, but the ones posed just don’t feel realistic. It’s a storybook ending that sweeps everything that just happened under the rug – just another folktale, and they lived happily ever after. Please. A weak and tacked on finale to a captivating and mysterious and beautifully written story.