Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book Review: Mudbound

I've had Hillary Jordan's Mudbound on my TBR list for a long time, and I'm glad Paperback Swap finally came through for me. I liked this book. I wasn't blown away, but I definitely got wrapped up in the characters and in the story. It's a bit of a familiar story, but that could be because it intersects in another area of my life right now—a black literature class for middle schoolers that I'm co-teaching.

"Mudbound" is the name that Laura McAllan bestows upon the Mississippi farm that her husband sees as "Fair Acres." Laura, having been raised in the city, is miserable at Mudbound until her husband's younger brother shows up after World War 2. He moves in with the family, which includes the hateful Pappy, father to Jamie and Henry.

Working on the farm and around the house are the Jacksons, a black sharecropping family. At the same time Jamie returns as a war hero, their son Ronsel returns, also a hero—but only to his own family. He immediately is forced to remember who he is: a black man in Mississippi.

The interaction between the two families is pivotal to the story, ranging from Laura's relationship with Florence to Ronsel and Jamie's brothers-in-arms friendship. And a lot more. Each character has his or her voice heard in alternating chapters, a perspective that I really enjoyed.

As I said, I wasn't utterly blown away by this book, but I really liked it. I keep feeling as if something was missing, but I think it's just a feeling for me that I wished the book was longer, with more chapters devoted to Laura, Jamie, and Ronsel. I wasn't completely satisfied with where the characters ended. In fact, I'd love for Jordan to write more novels that focus on these two families.

Other Bloggers' Reviews of Mudbound:
The Sleepy Reader
Medieval Bookworm
The Boston Bibliophile
Laughing Stars
Mostly Fiction Book Reviews
Fyrefly's Book Blog
Just Another Blogger
Lynne's Little Corner of the World

1 comment:

Staci said...

I really enjoyed reading your review. I've seen this at my library but have passed over it several times. I may have to pick it up sometime.