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Book Review: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Rachel Saylor


While reading Mudbound, you may look down to see if you have mud caked under your nail beds, or wipe at your face thinking you have dirt smudged across your cheek. Jordan plants the reader in rural Mississippi farmland so well that you'll forget you're not the one ploughing the fields, picking the cotton, and experiencing the daily vexations of farm life. The transplanting experience of reading Mudbound is guaranteed to make you more fully aware of the effects of racism, sexism, and classism, making you want to fight for a world of love. 

Mudbound takes place in the 1940's during WWII and the Jim Crow era, with racial tensions high in rural Mississippi. The reader gets to digest the story from all of the main character's perspectives, giving a deep understanding and insight into each character's strengths, downfalls, and motivations.  

Author, Hillary Jordan raises the question as to whether anyone is either truly good or bad or if there is always a grayness to people's actions and intent. At times, you are rooting for different characters and in the next moment, you are disgusted at their lack of values. Jordan shows what it is to be human. Selfishness, lust, racism, dutifulness are among the issues Jordan explores in Mudbound. 

Reading this book during a time when white supremacists are so openly coming forward and marching, maskless, shamelessly believing they are better than others and believing white males came by this land honestly through raping, pillaging, and enslaving natives already living in the U.S. is a reminder of the damage this group is capable of and on the verge of repeating. This book is a reminder of how awful privileged whites have been in the past. Hopefully, it will instill a fire in you to fight those who wish to regress and oppress now and in the future.