Cave Creek, AZ, United States | Member Since 2007
I'm a prolific Audible.com customer (1,400+ books so far) but I tend to shy away from books about racism in America. But, every now and then, a book comes along which is honest, hard-hitting yet balanced and emotional. This is such a book. The characters, black and white, male and female, young and old, are well-developed and each tells his or own story from their perspective, which is then woven into the rich tapestry that is "Mudbound". Like the best-selling audiobook "The Help", African-American narrators are used here to depict the black characters, giving the overall narration of the book a rich, deep, resonance - like a good gumbo. I cannot stand audio books where white people try to imitate black voices - they always sound like the minstrel stereotypes so evident in modern depictions, saying stuff like "Jive turkey" and "Right on!", something I've never heard a black person say in all of my 62 years! While we as a people have learned to talk "proper", there's not a single actor who can accurately imitate our voices, especially from times where we were forced to keep our eyes averted and respond with a respectful "Yassuh, Massa". This book, which tells a moving story of what it was like living in the deep South after World War II, is only made better by the excellent production. Even when the African-Americans have to "bow down" to the white man with "Yo' is righ", Cap'n", it's done here with self-respect and a self-awareness which lets the listener know that we're just playing the white man's game. Only a black narrator can provide this level of accuracy. I've listened to way too many audiobooks - even classics - which are ruined by the narrator. Mudbound" is really a tale of prejudice and hate and unnecessary cruelty by one race to another. However, if one can get pass the pain felt by blacks and the embarrassment felt by whites of hearing "nigger" over and over and over again, and just listen to the rich depiction of the people, the locations, and the era, you will find a riveting book of human suffering and survival. Here the "good" white people are still honestly racist behind closed doors and the black people will be grinning in the face of white man while planning how to kill him. Nobody is all good or all bad - just like in life. It's rare to find a white author who thoroughly understands how blacks reacted and triumphed over such racist things like a black man risking his life in WWII, only to come home to his parents' sharecropping farm and be treated like an animal. (Somebody told Jordan how we react when talked to like a slave - if you DEMAND a glass of water, we'll get it from the toilet, all icy and cold, for you!) Here we are portrayed as a strong race who learned how to live with overt racism long after we were supposed to have equal rights. After finishing this book - I wanted to read a sequel and a prequel to this book. Or another such literary and audio masterpiece like "The Help" and "Mudbound". More, PLEASE!!!
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