Jenna Bush Hager has chosen Bonnie Jo Campbell’s The Waters as the January 2024 selection for her Read With Jenna Today show book club.
Campbell’s novel, which will be released by Norton next week, focuses on “familial and communal conflicts” that “roil a swampy corner of Michigan,” according to a Kirkus critic, who called it “atmospheric, well written, and generally satisfying despite some overly familiar elements.”
Hager announced the selection on air on Thursday. “I love this book so much,” she told viewers. “It’s set in rural Michigan on an island, and we meet this incredible, fierce matriarch who is forced to raise a baby that comes into her life. You’re going to fall in love with the little girl. Her name is Donkey. She’s precocious and funny and strong.”
The morning show co-host also described the book as an ideal read “for anyone who loves nature, land and where we find beauty and magic.”
Campbell, the Michigan-based author of novels and story collections including Mothers, Tell Your Daughters and Q Road, told Today she embarked on the book “to explore a young woman who loved mathematics. And then as each of her family members became clearer, I understood more about the story, and a real ‘aha’ moment was when I let the story’s attention reach out to the men in the community, too. Then the story felt more true, honest and complete.”
The Waters is slated for publication on Tuesday, Jan. 9.