Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Book Review Club; MUDBOUND, Hillary Jordan

Sometimes belonging to a book group makes you read books you would never have come across on your own. This is one of them.

The story takes place in the years of the Second World War in the Mississippi Delta. It's told in multiple voices, which gives us insight into a number of characters, all of them wrestling with the lot fate has dealt them.

Two returning soldiers both struggle with what the war has done to them--one white, one black. The black soldier has actually been treated better as a soldier in Europe than he will ever be in the South of the 1940s.

The black soldier's family, sharecroppers, wrestle with the indignities forced on them in that era (leaving stores by back doors, taking what's left of virtually everything). The wife of the land owner (and they are not rich either) is college-educated but must live in a shack when her husband loses their potential house to a sharper bidder. Their marriage is not an easy one.

All of these characters have noble moments and lesser ones. The Mississippi of THE HELP looks more evolved than twenty years earlier. This is a sad book but one that will stay with you.

For more First Wednesday book review, check out Barrie Summy.

12 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - This sounds like such a real, authentic story! And definitely like a story that stays with one. Thanks for sharing it. It's not one I would have started by choosing either, but sometimes those turn out to be great choices.

Rose said...

Sounds like a great book, but one I might put off reading for awhile--a friend recommended "The Kitchen House" after I mentioned how much I loved "The Help." "The Kitchen House" is good, but much more disturbing than "The Help" (it takes place in early 1800's). I need to read something upbeat for awhile now.

Hope you're enjoying "Started Early"--I loved it!

Scott Parker said...

How timely a book on this, the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Interesting that you mention "The Help." It's on tap for our weekend viewing, my wife having read it. I appreciate books that are hard, but stay with you. Didn't know about this one.

Joe Barone said...

Sounds interesting. I've put this book on my list.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The movie version of THE HELP was superior to the book to me.
It was worth reading, Joe and a very easy read despite the serious matter.

Kathy Holmes said...

Very interesting! I'm still waiting to see THE HELP but would like to read both books, too!

Stacy said...

I haven't heard of this, but it sounds wonderful.

Sarah Laurence said...

Sounds good and real. Thanks for the recommendation!

Ron Scheer said...

Thanks for this one, Patti. I went through a period of Southern writers before getting interested in early westerns. You can call it regional fiction, but its capacity for what used to be called "Gothic" is just more deeply mainstream American than we've liked to admit.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think you would like it, Ron.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

This one looks rough. I have just downloaded a sample of The Help onto my Kindle, and so far I'm enjoying it, but I'm already having trouble with the treatment of 'the help.'

Sarahlynn said...

This is exactly the sort of book I'd avoid except for book club . . . and then be really glad later that I'd read. Ouch.