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review 2018-03-13 21:36
Mudbound
Mudbound - Hillary Jordan
This was a hard novel to put down once I started it. I felt for both parties involved, those who physically owned the land and those whose bodies labored over the land. The year was and Henry, a new landowner had never been so proud. Henry had just bought his farm and moved his family to Mississippi, keeping Hep on to work the land. It’s a story that takes you back to 1946, where race was an issue. Where some individuals pushed this issue while others didn’t see the point, where fighting for your country meant something while others were more concerned with your title while you did so. I saw both sides of the story and it was an amazing story.
 
Laura wasn’t too happy about moving away from her family when Henry came home with the news. The idea of moving closer to her father-in-law made the idea even more depressing yet when they arrived in Mississippi and learned about their living conditions, Laura hit rock bottom. When the kids became sick, Laura had to rely on Hep’s wife with her herbal remedies, as she was the closest thing to a doctor at the moment. I felt a huge shift in the novel as events started to escalate and individuals started to reveal their true colors. Needs and wants, pride and dignity all came to the surface as the families fight for survive.
 
When family members returned from the war, it added another layer to each of the families and to the community. I have to say, I enjoyed the complexity that these individuals brought to the table. They changed the chemistry of the whole novel.
 
I really enjoyed this novel. There were some intense, emotional scenes as the story was being played out and I really enjoyed all the characters. I highly recommend this novel and I can’t wait to read what else this author has written.

 

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text 2017-12-28 17:01
Tränen von Mississippi
Mudbound - Hillary Jordan

Das Hörbuch war wirklich schön zu hören. Die Stimmen der Leser sind angenehm zu hören. Besonders gefallen hat mir, dass es sich um verschiedene Leser gehandelt hat - das hat das ganze etwas aufgelockert. Die Darstellung der beiden Kriegsheimkehrer um die sich alles dreht, ist besonders gut gelungen. 
Ein wirklich gelungenes Hörbuch.

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review 2015-03-23 00:00
When She Woke
When She Woke - Hillary Jordan 38. WHEN SHE WOKE, BY HILLARY JORDAN

This book was recommended to me as a “very enjoyable feminist book”. It was enjoyable, and feminist too, but it was not without its issues. It’s quite reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale, as many people who have reviewed this book have pointed out, but very naive in comparison to it. But I don’t think comparing books is fair or necessary, so I won’t mention Margaret Atwood again in this review.

Synopsis: Hannah has lived her entire life struggling to obey the strict religious rules that have been imposed on her. But when she to has an abortion and is sentenced to be chromed, having her skin dyed red to mark her as a murderer, she begins to rethink the fairness of those rules and that way of looking at the world.

Overall enjoyment: I actually quite liked it for the most part. But then, three quarters of the way to the end, there is an episode that is almost bizarre in its incongruence with the rest of the story. Until then, I would have given this book a 7.5/10; after that, I can’t give it more than 5/10. Still, the rest of it is well-written and thought out.

Plot: It’s an interesting premise, if not entirely fresh. The ending is a little bit rushed, and I’m not even counting that bizarre encounter with Aidan, but the beginning and the middle kept me interested, with enough suspense and drama.

Characters: Mostly, well-developed. And, yes, the problem I’m having here is with her going back to meet Aidan. That was so far out of character I did a physical double-take when I read it. The lesbian scene was a bit of a push, since Hannah was just starting to free herself from all the dogmas she had grown up obeying, but it wasn’t completely incongruent, especially since she had just had a very big emotional shock and was craving human touch. But then she accepts that she might be capable of feeling attraction to another woman and the FIRST THING she thinks of is of going back to her lover! That was ridiculous, especially in the context, and it undid almost entirely her character development. And then she goes after him, risking all her hopes and all the people who had helped her without a second thought. I could have bought it if she were on the road, and something bad had happened; she would have been wanting some comfort, and would check her messages because of it, and then she would find his message and so on. But not the way it was done. And the relationship between her and Aidan is not very well done either; almost the entire book you get the impression that she’s just his lover and he’s just using her, manipulating his feelings, and in the end he does that big, selfless gesture that is just mind-boggling.

World/setting: It was pretty good and well thought out. She gives just enough hints of what happened in the past to make the present believable without delving into endless exposition or falling into contradictions.

Writing style: Easy to read and with a nice flow to it.

Representation: The main character is white (until she is chromed) and middle class, but her best friend is a POC and one of her saviors is a lesbian; the main character even considers the possibility of being bisexual herself.

Political correctness: It is quite a feminist book, envisioning a future where the government is dominated by the church and heavily patriarchal. I thought it was interesting how the most cruel characters were women, and how well that applies to a patriarchal society: the women who have the “privilege” of being treated better than the rest are usually the ones to make sure the other ones conform. She also discusses the problem with POC and the imbalance of power between them and white people. There were a few problems, though, especially when she condemns women for being too feminist. For instance, she half excuses Stanton of selling Hannah and her friend as slaves because he resented the fact that his mother dedicated herself to the feminist movement and didn’t give him as much attention as he wanted. But Aidan, dedicating himself to being a priest and helping people regardless of how much attention he gives his wife, is a saint. And, once again, I’m just going to ignore their encounter and that public announcement in the end; that’s just too bizarre and nonsensical for words.

Up next: The Mad Ship, by Robin Hobb
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review 2014-09-21 18:49
When She Woke
When She Woke - Hillary Jordan
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review 2014-08-15 00:00
When She Woke
When She Woke - Hillary Jordan A dystopian future retelling of The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke had me hooked from the start. Hannah Payne has been "chromed"—or colored—red for her crime: abortion. This dystopian world is one in which religion has undergone a resurgence, and it now dominates politics in the United States. Those who commit crimes are no longer imprisoned or put to death for their actions; they are marked and released to fend for themselves in a society rife with prejudice and moral judgements. Like Hester Prynne, Hannah will not name the celebrity figurehead who has fathered her unborn child, and this Scarlet thread carries throughout the book—but there's more, much more at work here. Hillary Jordan has created an imaginative and yet fathomable landscape of a society that's progressed so poorly it's actually regressed, and thus our journey with Hannah is one that addresses many themes: politics, religion, racism, acceptance, love, truth, friendship, honor, etc. On top of that, Ms. Jordan's style is an uncanny merging of a bit of Ray Bradbury with a large dose of Margaret Atwood, making her prose and imagery unbelievably rich, compelling, and beautiful. Admittedly, there were some moments where this read a little dense toward the latter part of the book, but it didn't deter me from being completely mesmerized by the tale. I would have liked a teeny bit *more* at the end, but overall I was so moved by this book I recommended it to everyone I know. It's really a stunning redux with so many more layers at play, making it Jordan's impressive own.
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