©2008 Hillary Jordan; (P)2008 Recorded Books
I had to read this book because it was selected by my book club, but I really wasn't looking forward to reading another novel about the Deep South and racism. Boy, am I glad I did. This was a gem of a book. Having the voices all read by different narrators was brilliant and I totally enjoyed my listening experience.
Hillary Jordan doesn't waste a word. There are no random personal musings on the color of the sky or whether there's going to be rain - everything that is in here is essential to the story. The characters are enjoyable. And I was totally shocked when I realized who'd "done the deed", but I laughed out loud and did a "pump fist" as I was driving along. Good for him! :-)
You shouldn't be disappointed with this one. It is definitely one of my favorites for the year.
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!!!
a mesmerizing story that could have happened and because of that, it's sad! Racist America just more hidden in some parts in 2015. well developed characters and excellent narration. some parts difficult to listen to because it's reality!
Racial prejudice. I will NEVER understand it nor accept it.
Newlywed wife (white) becomes a farmer's wife instead of a city wife as expected.
This is a time when blacks are still trying to own their own land and be self sufficient. Black family living on the farm are sharecroppers, meaning they help work the land , but must give a share to the farm owner. The white and black families seem to get along, but individuals around them cause prejudicial problems.
2 soldiers return home, one from each family. How are they treated? Very differently, but there is a bond of the war between them.
How are the wives dealing with the families, how do the husbands respond?
After writing my review, I changed my rating from 4 to 5 stars.
It's been a very long time - maybe since I read (listened to) The Help - that a book has moved me in so many ways. Having said that, yes the book is based on the era and many of the atrocities as in The Help but in my opinion that's the only correlation (other than they're both fantastic books!)
This book made me cringe, made me hold my breath, made me smile, made me cry, made me physically sick to my stomach - yes, literally. It brought up the hurt and shame I feel towards the white (or any other race) men/women of this mindset - not just back then but in my day and time as well. I'm a middle aged white woman in the South and I will admit that even to this day I run into people that think nothing of using the "N" word to refer to a black person?? I can not comprehend it and I do not condone it for one second.
I highly recommend this book to one and all - but be prepared for the ugly truth of the matter; no it's not graphic at all - it's just the ugly truth of our not so distance past.....
The audio version uses perfectly cast readers so it is easy to keep track of who's point of view you are listening to.
The female lead character had a resolve and self awareness which remind's me of Winter's Bone.
The opening scene stayed in my mind throughout the story. The author did a great job using it as an anchor to unfold her story.
I'm glad I took a break in listening because I needed to absorb the subtleties.
The director and narration enhanced the quality of this audiobook. None of the voices or pace was distracting from the writing.
I am a Special Education teacher. I grew up in Ashland, Oregon, but have lived most of my life in Hawaii. My favorite reading/listening genres are history and historical fiction.
I stayed up all night listening to this book, I couldn't stop. Can't say I enjoyed it though. The setting, the characters, the plot, and especially the racism - it was all just so painful! When it was finally over I felt so relieved that I have never set foot in rural Mississippi!
I enjoyed this book almost as much as I enjoyed, The Help. I say almost just because it wasn't as long. Like The Help, the different narrators in Mudbound added a level of enjoyment to the story that I would never have experienced had I read the book on my own. Once the story began, I did not stop listening nor did I need to 'rewind'. The story flows from the first sentence to the last, a 'down to earth (or mud)' kind of story that tugs at my heart long after I've finished.
We know where it's going, but we can't look away. It's like not wanting to watch a car wreck that's about to happen, but not being able to turn away. It is a character-driven story. And the characters are so well drawn with human flaws. And as they must, they pay for their sins.
Excellent portrayal of conditions between blacks and whites in the South during that time period. Jordan's whites are all (except for the Jewish doctor) guilty of racism either through their direct actions or as acquiescent accomplices.
I plan to read this book again.
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