Please Note: Spoilers from this point forward.
I posted this about a year ago, when I first returned to blogging. It's the letter I wrote to Hillary Jordan after I finished her novel, and it seems as good a place as any to start:
Dear Ms. Jordan:
I am, of course, late to the game with Mudbound, having just finished it a few weeks ago, even though it was recommended to me much earlier. I think it was the way my friend said, "I loved it, but there were parts that were hard to read." Lots of books have parts that are hard to read; I knew she meant something qualitatively different with your book.
Your writing is beautiful and your story is compelling. But when I put the book down, I burst into tears and called my friend to tell her that she should have warned me. She said that she did. I said, no, what I meant is that she shouldn't have let me read it at all, because I didn't know how to live with it.
I am the white mother of an adopted African American son. I studied African American history at Smith College and Civil Rights at Georgetown Law School. I know something about the history of race in this country and still, you brought it home again and again and again. People need to read your book. I needed to read your book, even though I had so much to mourn when I finished. Ronsel. I could mourn what happened to Ronsel for the rest of my life.
All I am trying to say is that your book moved me more than any book I can remember reading in a long time. And I just wanted to thank you for writing it.
Although I obviously have much to say about this book as a reader and a writer, I'd love to start with your initial reactions to the book. To the comments!