“The Sweet Everlasting” by Judson Mitcham

Hello TTT Ladies,

I had the most interesting conversation with Dstinguishd”5″,  I just want to highlight on this”moment” but not let it take away from the foundation of the novel “The Sweet Everlasting”

When I read the inside cover of the book,I did not think twice to consider if  Ellis Burt was white, black, hispanic ect. I naturally assumed he was black man, because of the verbiage. I have never read a book where a white man has been presented in this manner, especially during the era the book was written in. In fact when I read the inside of the cover of “The Sweet Everlasting” I naturally assumed this is going to be a  another book about another black man living in the south during the Jim Crow era so that for me was going to be tough to grasp the context of this book. I struggle  to read this type of book because the black man’s struggle was so divisive.

Well Dstinguishd “5” said when she read the cover the  she came to the conclusion that he was white. I of course  assumed that Susan her family and were black. When I read about his mother drinking, I was confused because black women are always portrayed strong strengths of tower especially during that era and even now. I even thought it was strange that a black would poison his family and try to kill them. The black family during that time did manage to stay together for the most part.


I am thinking to myself and quite miffed, but give “kudos” to author he is cleaver.

I still was disappointed, I feel I am a critical reader so what gives?

We quizzed each other back and forth as we went through the book and pointed to each other the comments that supported our claim, how could you not know he was white? or why would that statement support your view he was black?

I did not realize until the middle of the book that he was white,- his family.

It really made me think, did I miss the meaning of the book because he was white? Did I read the book with prejudice, perception, and assumption. I even contemplated on going back and read the book from the beginning since I seem to missed an important fact. but why his race be important?

Is there a way that we read a book if the character is white, black, asian, hispanic ect.?

Well after  some rest, I realize that it does not matter what color he was. The pain and hurt he felt was what any human being would feel under the same circumstances. My compassion for Ellis Burt did not change because he was a white man. I still feel like this book is awesome. It did not take away from the content of the book. I still would read it again and recommend highly it.

When I realized that Burt Ellis was white, I just said “Wow” where did that come from, in fact I just said ok so he is white and kept reading. It did make me think, because during that era white people struggled just as much as black people and for that I felt ashamed that I assumed it was only my race that face opposition during that era.

Do I need to apologize? no I don’t, I need to read  and educate myself, but as along as I have compassion and love for all people of any color, and keep my mind open to other points of views. I am in a good place, I find that being totally honest with myself is always a “good thing”









9 thoughts on ““The Sweet Everlasting” by Judson Mitcham

  1. Hello TTT Ladies thank you for listening, I hope to see more sharing of comments on our July book of the month “The Sweet Everlasting” if you receive this comment reply in your email log on to our blog page and give your point of view on the above post.

  2. Hello TTT Ladies,

    Do you think that Burt is dead? or is this one of his dillussions has he imagines that his is with WD and Susan

    Do you this this is a love story of a drama?

  3. My, My, My Chocolateamethyst! You are absolutely correct that it did not take away from the book after you found out what race he was, but in all honesty I do think that when we read books knowing the race of the individual that many times we formulate an opinion or sterotype the person as we read because many times we do put labels on people. Just as you thought it was “strange” for a black to poison his whole family.

    This was a very trying era and as you said both races were affected by time and poverty and many were products of their environment.

    I think that we dwell so much on trying to learn our own history and listening to stories that were told to us about our ancestors that we just don’t think about what other races have been through when it is so much that we can learn about each other. The chain-gang for example, people think that it was only blacks but there were actually whites that were also on the chain gang and after the presence of whites began to increase on the road detail it was ceased in the 1960’s.

    Very good book, I’m glad I read it!

  4. I will have to ponder on your comments about that we form a opinion or stereotype the character when we read a book. If the author “types cast” a character in the book we are reading, the author brings the character to life with his words we but we can still gage and formulate our own view.

    But for the most part you are on point.

    excellent point of view

    • This is the 3rd time I’ve read this book and knowing the ending did make me read it slower and with my eyes wide open. I found myself looking for clues. Clues that Ellis should have picked up on, clues that some people seemed to know- but not Ellis, the closest person to Susan. Why did Susan tell Ellis? Did she think that his love would look beyond that ounce of Black blood? In the end love did win–but the havoc was it worth it.

  5. Excellent comment, to the blogger who posted this comment above. That is one of the questions we will discuss when the TTT Ladies meet. I think she knew that he loved her but had to know if it was “unconditional” I feel that is one aspect of love that all females need and want in a marriage or relationship.

    I could understand Ellis being hurt and shocked to know her parents were bi-racial, but to call her a racist name was total disrespect. Ellis had issues before he married Susan, he seem to worship her, that in it’s self is unbalanced.

    I agree in the the end love did win, it reminds me of this song by Lou Rawls ” Love is a Hurting Thing”

    Thank you for reading our blog page and your comments, TTT Ladies look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

  6. Hello TTT Ladies,

    Please show your support on 24 July 2012 6:30 pm at the Augusta Richmond County Public Library 823 Telfair St, Augusta GA 30901 we will be on the 3rd floor.

    “The Sweet Everlasting” by Judson Mitcham will be presented by HoneyBadger, this is a excellent read, and project a dynamic evening of “Talk”

    I thank you in advance for your support.

    • A great night of discussion! Thank you ladies! It was interesting to hear the different opinions and views regarding The Sweet Everlasting. The book and its characters (primarily Ellis) caused us to pause and think deeply about our attitudes towards race and social class. We asked ourselves if we had been in Susan’s situation during the time she lived would we have kept our dark secret. We asked why Ellis never had a clue while others around him knew! Could Susan’s response to others have revealed her true self to those who treated her as less than? Judson Mitcham tells a poignant poetic story of everlasting love –and how Ellis had to come to grips with his prejudices to realize Susan was his everlasting love.

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