A family tale set in the 1930s and 40s, Mudbound looks at the racial experience, divide, and struggle in the Deep South, from diverse points of view Hillary Jordan image from NPR Two families, one black, one white, tied to the land, to each other, and stuck in the muck of a racist world Jordan uses multiple narrators to offer varying perspectives on the events of the story Laura, a Memphis schoolteacher, is on the fast track to old maid hood after her 30th birthday, when she is introduced to Henry McAllan He is smitten, and she likes him well enough Marriage is fine with her, but when a death in the family throws long term plans onto the scrapheap, Henry announces that in two weeks they will be moving to a remote part of Mississippi to take over a farm It comes to be called Mudbound, for obvious reasons The novel merges struggles with racism with views of the hardships of farming life Rob Morgan as Hap Jackson and Jason Mitchell as Ronsel Jackson image from RottenTomatoes.comTwo soldiers, one black, one white, return to town from World War II in Europe Henry s brother Jamie is a much 19 years younger man, charming, a pilot, damaged by his war experience, turning to alcohol to try to smother his recent visions of war and his still sharp recollection of a near death experience he d had as a child and of dubious character in any case Is there really any there there He becomes friends with Ronsel Jackson, the black son of one of Henry s tenants, a successful, handsome member of a black tank corps He had been a hero in Germany, was accepted there and in other parts of Europe as a man, a liberator, not as a black, but back home, the deep south remains the deep south and bigotry defines the limits of civilization, that form of madness personified by Henry and Jamie s vile father, Pappy.Jonathan Banks as Pappy McAllan image from Stimme.deThis was a very fast read, a page turner Jordan does a nice job of slowly ramping up the tension until the climactic action Carey Mulligan as Laura McAllan image from collider.comShe has given us a portrait of a particular place in a particular time I do not believe it to have been her purpose to tell a tale of the modern age the book was published in 2006 , yet it is impossible not to think of the blue on black violence that has tormented the nation and relate it to the overt racial violence of the mid 20th century South.Mary J Blige as Florence Jackson image from RottenTomatoes.comAlthough one might see Laura as the core of this story, and that is where the story began for Jordan, I believe it is Jamie around whom everything else moves His relationship with Laura, the up and the down, help her define her relationship with Henry and with the world His relationship with Ronsel is crucial to the dramatic events that follow It is in the light of his personality that others see themselves clearly Laura was the first, and only, voice for some while Mudbound started as a short writing exercise in grad school The assignment was to write 3 pages in the voice of a family member, so I decided to write about my grandparents farm a sort of mythic place I d grown up hearing about, which actually was called Mudbound from my grandmother s point of view My teacher liked what I wrote and encouraged me to continue, and I tried to write a short story Nana became Laura, a fictional character who is much fiery and rebellious than my grandmother ever was, and the story got longer and longer At 50 pages I realized I was writing a novel, and that s when I decided to introduce the other voices Jamie came next, then Henry, then Florence, then Hap Ronsel wasn t even a character until I had about 150 pages And of course, when he entered the story, he changed its course dramatically from Loaded Questions interviewThere is much here about being heard, who can speak, and who, ultimately, is silenced Garrett Hedlund as Jamie McAllanI have seen criticism about the use of stock characters here, and that is not without merit Southern bigots are given only one coat of paint, as are strong black characters Nonetheless, and in particular considering that this is a first novel, it is forgivable Mudbound is a fine read, offering interesting characters, and a poignant view of race relations in the South, particularly after World War II It is well worth the ride It appears that the film that has been made of the novel has not only done it justice but maybe even exceeded the original material Published 2006 Review Posted originally in 2008 reworked on release of the film in November 2017 EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal and Twitter pagesThe Netflix site for the Mudbound filmInterviews NPR March 14, 2008 Racism and Family Secrets in Mudbound by Lynn Neary Jordan says Mudbound was inspired by her mother s family stories of the year they spent on an isolated farm without running water or electricity Eventually, it grew into a larger story with darker themes But the first character she wrote about, Laura, was based on her own grandmother I started out writing what I thought was going to be a short story in the voice of Laura, Jordan says, and as the story grew, I just found myself wanting to hear from other people As the story got larger, as it embraced these other themes, these larger themes about war and about Jim Crow, I wanted to hear from those people Loaded Questions July 19, 2008 Interview with Hillary Jordan by Kelly Hewitt Talks With Teachers Skyping with Hillary Jordan of Mudbound by Brian Sztabnik She had grammar rules for each character For example, Laura is the only character to use a semicolon because she is the most educated Henry s sentences always end with a period because everything is a full stop for him Hap has long, run on sentences because he is a preacher Mudbound took six years and 11 drafts to complete, but she was not writing full time for those six years. 4.5 starsThis was really an incredible, powerfully written novel about the Jim Crow south immediately following World War II Set in the Mississippi Delta, Mudbound will cause you to feel mired in the muck of the land as well as in the hatred and bigotry of this place and time It is a story about two families, one black the Jacksons, and one white the McAllans, who become inextricably linked to one another Laura is a city girl, on the brink of being labeled old maid When Henry McAllan rescues her from spinsterhood, she didn t realize that her life would be significantly altered when Henry decides to fulfill a lifelong dream of purchasing a piece of his own land Laura s career as a teacher and her relatively easy living under the roof of her parent s home in Memphis have in no way prepared her for the life of a farmwife in a backwoods part of the countryWhen I think of the farm, I think of mud Limning my husband s fingernails and encrusting the children s knees and hair Sucking at my feet like a greedy newborn on the breast Marching in boot shaped patches across the plank floors of the house There was no defeating it The mud coated everything I dreamed in brown Initially I worried that the structure of the novel might not work for me The events are told from multiple perspectives in alternating chapters We hear from three of the McAllans Laura, Jamie and Henry as well as three of the Jacksons Florence, Ronsel and Hap To my surprise, author Hillary Jordan managed to pull this off with much finesse, and I appreciated each individual viewpoint By hearing from each of these characters, we gain a greater understanding of the complexity of the relationships between them Nothing is simple life is difficult, unjust and oftentimes downright cruel Laura strikes up a friendship, albeit a complex one, with Florence Jackson, wife to the McAllan s tenant, Hap Jackson The friendship begins out of necessity, loneliness and the bond the two women share that of motherhood When Florence s son returns from the war a decorated hero, another relationship develops between this young man, Ronsel, and Henry McAllan s troubled, younger brother, Jamie, also recently returned from the horrors of wartime Europe These bonds are further complicated by the existence of Pappy, the McAllan s father, a loathsome and racist old man He embodies all that is vile in the Jim Crow south, full of bitterness, misunderstanding, hatred and fear The rain, the mud, and the tension constantly lurk in the reader s mind throughout the entirety of the novel Like a storm gathering and threatening on the horizon, one knows that all will eventually come to a head and let loose all the pent up rage and menacing violence I really couldn t turn the pages fast enough and resented the numerous interruptions while reading this book This is a fairly quick read that is yet very meaningful A myriad of issues are examined here besides the obvious one of racism Marriage, sharecropping, infidelity, post traumatic stress disorder, and motherhood are all touched upon with thoughtful care The subject matter is weighty, but this book is extremely worthwhile and one I would highly recommend. This novel is so moving, so relatable, and so tragic that I can t imagine any reader being left untouched by its six narrators and the fierce, loving, and horrific story they share in the telling.I found this story so gripping that I could barely stand to put it down so filled with potential tragedy and disaster that I reluctantly picked it up again Yet, I was compelled to do so There is no way in the world that I could close my eyes and heart to this story without suffering in my ignorance I had to know, I had to be there with these people, I had to find out how their stories would end.Hillary Jordan spent seven years writing this book and I can only imagine the emotional turmoil she experienced while writing these people s perspectives During the time written about in Mississippi, World War II was also related with fresh voices Narrated by Ronsel, we learn of the 10 s of thousands of black men who fought in the war for the U.S., who achieved military honours and status designations that are rarely heard about.We learn of how they are treated as heroes and as equals by the people they met in Europe, and how they returned home not heroes but with demands that they lower their eyes, leave a store by the back door, sit in the back of a truck or a car or a bus say, Yassuh when addressed by a white person.From Henry, Laura, Florence and Hap we learn about the farming methods back then and how challenging it was for anyone to make a decent living in an area subject to extremes in weather and rivers flooding We learn not just about people s needs, such as food, shelter, health, and for love, but also their wants and how basic wants can sometimes create havoc in obtaining basic needs.From Jamie we learn about the dangers of taking on the status quo when even doing the right thing and things one wants to do for themselves can have unbelievably shocking consequences for oneself, but even so for others.There is so much to learn about in this book some that is familiar, and some set in a frame that is far less known and far less discussed.This novel and the people who drive the story forward will remain in my heart and memory for a long time to come I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has not yet read it The only requirement is an open mind and an open heart this story and the people in it will do all the rest. Set just after the end of World War Two in 1946, this is a harsh Southern novel that encapsulates the Jim Crow era It is set in the Mississippi Delta on a cotton farm, where life is hard and the work is backbreaking, and the brown colour dominates the mudbound landscape With a mother fearful that her daughter would be left on the shelf, Laura marries Henry McAllan, a World War 1 veteran Soon after, he moves them to the farm City bred Laura finds her new surroundings a shock, both demanding and challenging And then there is Henry s father, Pappy, a horrifying individual, full of bigotry and hate, who terrifies Laura and her children This is a story of two families, the McAllans and the black Jacksons, bound uncomfortably together through their sharecropping agreements The narrative is delivered from the perspectives of the two family members as events move to the inevitable beats of their conclusions and the part each of them plays in the tragedy Two decorated soldiers return, the sensitive younger brother of Henry, Jamie, a pilot, and a different man in comparison to Henry, and Laura is drawn to him Ronsel Jackson served in the black tank divisions in Europe, and experienced what equality feels like there, only to return to the deeply entrenched racial divisions of home, where he and other black folk are seen as less than human The two men form a friendship based on their common nightmarish war experiences for which they both turn to alcohol However, the townsfolk are stirred to anger at the sight of a friendship that crosses their rigid demarcation of racial lines This is a story of a marriage, women s roles, family dynamics, injustice, race and brutality In effect, this is a raw and heartbreaking history of the US in a period of social change Jordan develops her characters beautifully, giving us access to what they think and feel to catch a turbulent and divisive era A brilliant read that I highly recommend Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC. 4.5 StarsThrough the eyes and ears and thoughts of these two families one black, one white with a total of six people, we get a small glimpse of life in the post war 1930 s and 40 s living in the Mississippi Delta region Life on a cotton farm with its never ending physical demands All the mud.From Laura we hear her thoughts a total of twelve times throughout this story From Jamie, seven times, from Ronsel, five times, from Henry, four times From Hap and Florence, four times each You might think that makes this primarily Laura s story, but it is a shared story of all those in both families, how they arrived at the places they did, and how the era and the people, including the townspeople, own a piece of this story, as does the land the mud It is as much a part of this story as any characterBut I must start at the beginning, if I can find it Beginnings are elusive things Just when you think you have hold of one, you look back and see another, earlier beginning, and an earlier one before that Laura wasn t raised to this life, the life of a farmer s wife When she first meets Henry, it is the spring of 1939, and she is thirty onea spinster well on my way to petrification,an English teacher for a private school for boys, living in her parents home, where she grew up in Memphis They have a very proper courtship, Henry is an educated man, who grew up on a farm, but has a job as a successful engineer She begins to have a small degree of hope Eventually Laura meets his brother, Jamie, time passes, and eventually Henry and Laura marry It isn t long before she finds herself living on a farm, which is of a farm to be, mostly mud when she first sees it It goes from bad to worse, and it s a while before things begin to go from worse to better, and even then, there s Henry s father, Pappy, who represents the worst of the Jim Crow South in this small town in the middle of MississippiWhen I think of the farm, I think of mud Limning my husband s fingernails and encrusting the children s knees and hair Sucking at my feet like a greedy newborn on the breast Marching in boot shaped patches across the plank floors of the house There was no defeating it The mud coated everything I dreamed in brown When it rained, as it often did, the yard turned into a thick gumbo, with the house floating in it like a soggy cracker When the rains came hard, the river rose and swallowed the bridge that was the only way across The world was on the other side of that bridge, the world of light bulbs and paved roads and shirts that stayed white When the river rose, the world was lost to us and we to it Racism, which is always present to some degree, really begins to rear its ugly head when Jamie comes to the farm, returning from WWII, around the same time that Ronsel, the son of the black sharecropper family that farm part of their land returns, as well While Jamie has no problem befriending Ronsel, the townspeople have an issue with it As time passes, these two families never foresaw the toll this would take, the repercussions for either family This story pulled me back and forth through time, and through the thoughts of these various characters A beautifully written, often heartbreaking, spellbinding and horrifying story, this still was a book that was hard for me to put downWhat we can t speak, we say in silence Many thanks, once again, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book I had sworn off any and all novels dealing with racial themes set in the South There is only so much self flagellating I can do in a year in penance for things in which I had no part Certainly I realize that the theme is worth exploring, and that if you want to write a book set in the South, especially between the years covering Reconstruction through the Civil Rights era, race is going to play a part This is all well and good, and admirable in that examining the past through the gauze of fiction can get at some of the smaller truths and nuances that non fiction just can t I was just weary of it But a galley came in for this book, and I wish I could tell you what made me bring it home to read, but I honestly don t remember Maybe it was the first paragraphHenry and I dug the hole seven feet deep Any shallower and the corpse was liable to come rising up during the next big flood Howdy boys Remember me The thought of it kept us digging even after the blisters on our palms had burst, reformed and burst again Every shovelful was an agony the old man, getting in his last licks Still, I was glad of the pain It shoved away thought and memory Well, this was intriguing, so I flipped a few pages in and stumbled on thisWhen I think of the farm, I think of mud Limning my husband s fingernails and encrusting the children s knees and hair Sucking at my feet like a greedy newborn on the breast Marching in boot shaped patches across the plank floors of the house There was no defeating it The mud coated everything I dreamed in brown It was at this point I got flashes of Ron Rash s brilliant One Foot in Eden, and my resolve to step away from novels that mention Jim Crow on their jacket blurbs faded away Sometimes it is a good thing I don t stick to a plan.Hillary Jordan s Bellwether Prize winning novel subtly captures all the nuances of the South the uneasy inter reliance the races have always had on each other the familial ties that often defy explanation and the realization that it was the fertile ground for change tilled during World War II in which the seeds of social change were planted.Mudbound is written in the alternating voices of the McAllan and Jackson families They are bound together by the sharecropping arrangement between the two families, one white the McAllans , the other black the Jacksons Jamie McAllan and Ronsel Jackson have both served their time in service to the country, and they each find themselves returning to a home that is at once familiar as air and foreign as Europe once was for them Ronsel, especially, must cope with the memory of the sense of equality he enjoyed while in Europe and the abrupt return to the status quo of an unchanged South.Equally as off balance in this world is Laura McAllan She was raised in gentility, and the family land to which her husband is pledged is a far cry from anything she had ever known Married to Jamie s brother, whose solid nature has, with familiarity, become thuddingly dull, Laura is rejuvenated by the handsome returning war veteran, Jamie In him she sees the possibility of an awakening.The stage is set for disaster when Jamie and Ronsel strike up a friendship forged by the bonds of war, and from the moment that is set in motion until the final paragraph, I was riveted.The real treasure in this novel, however, lies in Jordan s masterful writing which captures every subtle gradation of the nature of the relationships between families of different races who depend on each other with a mixture of respect, fear, loathing, and affection Nowhere is this dichotomy eloquent than in a passage in which Laura speaks of Florence Jackson s daughter, Lilly May, who often accompanies her mother to the McAllan s house while Florence cleans the house Laura speaks of Lilly May s beautiful voiceThe first time I head her, I was playing the piano and teaching the girls the words to Amazing Grace when Lilly May joined in from the front porch, where she was shelling peas I ve always prided myself on my singing voice but when I heard hers I was so humbled I was struck dumb Her voice had no earthly clay in it, just a sure sweet grace that was both a yielding and a promise Anyone who believes that Negroes are not God s children never heard Lilly May Jackson sing to Him.This is not to say that I thought of Florence and her family as equal to me and mine I called her Florence and she called me Miz McAllan She and Lilly May didn t use our outhouse, but did their business in the bushes out back And when we sat down to the noon meal, the two of them ate outside on the porch Mudbound took my breath away, and if Ms Jordan s novel doesn t wind up with several honors for it I ll be surprised. In Jordan S Prize Winning Debut, Prejudice Takes Many Forms, Both Subtle And Brutal It Is , And City Bred Laura McAllan Is Trying To Raise Her Children On Her Husband S Mississippi Delta Farm A Place She Finds Foreign And Frightening In The Midst Of The Family S Struggles, Two Young Men Return From The War To Work The Land Jamie McAllan, Laura S Brother In Law, Is Everything Her Husband Is Not Charming, Handsome, And Haunted By His Memories Of Combat Ronsel Jackson, Eldest Son Of The Black Sharecroppers Who Live On The McAllan Farm, Has Come Home With The Shine Of A War Hero But No Matter His Bravery In Defense Of His Country, He Is Still Considered Less Than A Man In The Jim Crow South It Is The Unlikely Friendship Of These Brothers In Arms That Drives This Powerful Novel To Its Inexorable Conclusion The Men And Women Of Each Family Relate Their Versions Of Events And We Are Drawn Into Their Lives As They Become Players In A Tragedy On The Grandest Scale As Kingsolver Says Of Hillary Jordan, Her Characters Walked Straight Out Of S Mississippi And Into The Part Of My Brain Where Sympathy And Anger And Love Reside, Leaving My Heart Racing They Are With Me Still Social justice and literature liteThis book and I hit it off at first It s a quick, easy read and I enjoyed the first 2 3 or so But looking back, I wouldn t recommend it to anyone.Mudbound is about two families living in the Mississippi Delta one black and one white It s 1946 and racial tensions are high the black GIs returning from WW2 are no longer willing to put up with being second class citizens, but the white population is equally unwilling to allow change The book is written in the first person from 6 six different viewpoints and a debut novel at that had I not loved Jordan s When She Woke I would never have attempted this , including Ronsel a black soldier , Hap and Florence his parents , Jaime a white soldier , Henry his older brother and Laura Henry s wife To her credit, Jordan does do a passable job with the multiple narrators, who don t sound too much alike the streamlined nature of the writing, without much figurative language or description, helps with this, and the dialect works well enough without being impenetrable.As I said, I liked the story at first it drew me in quickly and entertained me But there isn t much I can say for it So, then, the problems THE PLOT Terribly predictable and melodramatic One third of the way through I predicted all the dramatic events that would happen in the rest of the book And I m not usually good at that.THE CHARACTERS The black family are stock characters of the sympathetic victims variety hardworking, family values folk Hap is the forgiving, scripture quoting preacher Florence is the closer to earth midwife Ronsel is the bright young guy who s beat down by the system They have potential but are too stuck in their stock roles and personalities to realize it.The white family is complex they re allowed to have flaws , but not much Henry is a simple man who loves farming exactly the same on the inside as he appears from the outside His father, Pappy, is the stock evil racist with no redeeming qualities Laura gets a lot of page time and her voice feels the most authentic , but she s pathetic she s pathetically grateful to Henry for marrying her at the ripe old age of 31 and despite a few attempts to act for herself, she s still pathetic at the end Bizarrely, in an interview in the back of the book Jordan states that Laura is based on her own grandmother, but much fiery and rebellious since neither adjective describes Laura in the slightest, I can only conclude either that Jordan s grandmother was an automaton, or, likely, that Jordan utterly failed at turning the idea in her head into a character on the page Jamie is the most interesting of the bunch he seems like a basically good guy whose PTSD leads him into destructive behavior, and he s racist in a subtle, Huckleberry Finn kind of way at least, the other white characters make him look subtle on that later.THE SETTING Black and white, in ways than one Essentially, the rural South bad cities, or anywhere in Europe good Violence is part and parcel of country life, Laura tells us, and to prove the point, Jordan includes a family of bit part characters that do nothing but rape, murder, and drunkenly shoot off guns and these are the only farm people we meet aside from the main characters The Mississippi Delta is full of violent racists, while the Memphis bred Laura has apparently never even heard of Jim Crow Europe, meanwhile, is a colorblind paradise even German women are happy to sleep with black men and have their babies mere months after their own government finished murdering millions of pale skinned people for not being white enough I m not disputing that similar liaisons happened, but I do dispute the colorblind paradise portrayal Read Andrea Levy s Small Island for a nuanced portrayal of wartime and post war England as for Germany, well, I should think the attempt to massacre all non Aryans to create a master race speaks for itself Finally, Jordan s failure to get even easily verifiable facts right makes me doubt her overall portrayal The two closest towns to the McAllens farm are Greenville and Marietta and while Greenville really is a Delta town, Marietta is actually over 200 miles away in the northeast part of the state.THE MESSAGE Several underwhelmed reviewers have mocked the Bellwether Prize, which is meant to recognize a book that advances social justice in some way I think the prize is a good idea But the Washington Post nailed this one the book doesn t challenge our prejudices so much as give us the easy satisfaction of feeling superior to these evil Southerners The thing is, to advance social justice, you have to be timely Tackle, say, the drug war s disproportionate impact on minority communities, the poor quality of education in inner city schools, the location of environmental hazards in minority neighborhoods There s no end to current social justice issues that Jordan might have written about Instead, her message is one that even most unreformed racists of today wouldn t dispute racially motivated hate crimes are bad, folks It s no wonder most people like this book its message is so uncontroversial that nobody is uncomfortable with it But you can t change society by hammering home points everybody already agrees with In fairness to Jordan, her second novel does take on timely, controversial issues predictably, its reception has been mixed But it s also so much better In the end, I don t hate this book If you want a quick, unchallenging read about the evils of racism, it may be the book for you If you re looking for some redeeming social or literary value, though, best look elsewhere. My vacation is over and with it a return to active reading Last year I didn t pick up a book for the entire month of February and I attributed it to the winter blahs Truthfully, it is because last year my team lost the Super Bowl this year it is a much different story It is amazing how much winning has helped my mood Two years ago my favorite teams won the World Series and Super Bowl three months apart and I went on to read over 200 books I doubt I ll approach that again until my kids are out of the house but it was such a positive feeling Getting back on track, last year during my winter blahs the Southern literary trail group here on goodreads read Mudbound by Hilary Jordan The book sounded intriguing but I was not in a mindset to join in New year, new reading goals, one of which is reading many of the group and buddy reads that I missed out on last year Mudbound is the first of those reads and appropriately enough, I finished this historical fiction set in 1940s Mississippi during black history month Hilary Jordan s debut novel received national best seller status and became a Netflix movie It is the post war 1940s and the McAllen family has moved to the Mississippi Delta to try their hand at farming Henry McAllen has always wanted a farm, whereas his city bred wife Laura pines for her family in Memphis Leaving behind civilization, the McAllens move to a farm, which Laura names Mudbound Henry keeps on three tenant families to assist with the harvest, one of which is the African American Jacksons, who are determined to own their own land one day They place all of their hopes and dreams on their son Ronsel, a sergeant in the 761st Black Panther Tanker regiment Laura s resentment of farming did not make a full novel so Jordan has told her story in six voices Henry, Laura Hap, Florence, and Ronsel Jackson and Henry s younger brother Jamie, a decorated Air Force pilot returning from combat missions over Germany Each of the six characters carried old southern prejudices That the United States had just defeated fascism in Europe was lost on southern gentlemen who still viewed blacks as less than human While Henry did not openly espouse these views, his father known as Pappy did, which created a tension between family members on the farm The tension grew worse when Jamie returned from Europe after having seen the horrors of war and fighting off ghosts He saw African Americans honorably fighting for their country, and, while he may not have been ready to call them his equal, Jamie did believe in respect for war veterans and did not see African Americans as less than human Jordan s has prose is not spectacular but she moved the story between voices well enough to hold my interest throughout What I found interesting is that she herself is not from the Delta region but that she created characters as archetypes for the south at a changing time African Americans who fought to defeat the Germans abroad came home to a society that was not quite ready to view them as equal to whites, and struggled to settle in to old world views The friendship between Jamie McAllen and Ronsel Jackson pinpoints that the younger generation saw the changing, modern world, yet their parents still saw things literally in black and white With many respectable white southerners still holding membership in the Ku Klux Klan, African Americans realized that in order to achieve the American Dream that they would have to leave the south or be put in their place Even forward thinking people as Jamie and Laura McAllen were not quite ready in the 1940s to live a life side by side with African Americans as their equals That I started reading Mudbound on what would have been Jackie Robinson s 100th birthday was not lost on me Almost concurrently to the story being played out in the Mississippi Delta, Jackie played his role to integrate American society I wonder how Pappy McAllen, a man who enjoyed listening to ball games on the radio, would have reacted to hearing about Jackie s exploits on the baseball diamond I doubt the reaction would have been a positive one February moves on Baseball season starts in only seven weeks so perhaps the winter blahs will not be so bad this year after all With stories like Mudbound chock full of intriguing group discussion points, I will be sure to stay in a positive mindset through the rest of the winter 3.5 stars rounded up prose could have been a little stronger It is wonderful that an author can write something like this as their debut novel I enjoyed it so much I liked the way the author presented each chapter from the point of view of a different character This way we got to discover what each individual was really like rather than seeing them only from another persons view It was very noticeable that one character was never given this opportunity to speak and it was a good thing The book opens in a very captivating way with a scene which is repeated towards the end I had to go back and read it again to reinterpret it with the knowledge I had gained from reading the book It was very cleverly done I was also grateful for the author s input at the end which lets us know what probably happened to the characters later in life I often dislike books which leave me to draw my own conclusions and I was very satisfied to see what was going to happen to Ronsel He deserved a good life A very good book, well written and enjoyable despite its uncomfortable subject matter.