“The Underground Railroad” Book Review

whitehead-colson

Life almost made the completion of this read impossible. I was supposed to read this book for Diverse-A-Thon, but it didn’t make it. “The New Edition Story” 3-night miniseries happened and I went down memory lane which took me away from my reading.

Colson Whitehead takes the idea of the underground railroad, which are pathways with safe houses to aide slaves helping them to enter free states, and makes it into an actual underground railroad. Each destination of the underground railroad revealed a different world racially. Certain states were more accepting of blacks escaping than others. This story follows a slave, Cora, in her perseverance to gain freedom from slavery. Cora’s determination for freedom is as relentless as the slave catcher’s desire to capture her to return her to bondage. It seemed that every time Cora started to relax, her past reached out to pull her back to slavery. Along her journey to freedom we are introduced to many characters. Abolitionists and sympathizers along the way were also treated as subhuman if they were caught harboring slaves.

I walked away from this book thinking about freedom. What is freedom? Does attaining freedom bring about danger due to its ability to precipitate contentment? Do you still have freedom if there are people willing and able to take it away? Is freedom a state of mind or a tangible destination?  It was amazing to me how preoccupied white people in antebellum south were with keeping track of black people. Slave catchers were willing to travel thousands of miles to bring slaves back to their owners. How far are you willing to go to acquire freedom?

“Whether in the fields or underground or in an attic room, America remained her warden.” The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

The writing was very graphic at times, and it should be given the content. To be honest, I felt that the book could have been longer. Many vloggers and bloggers have spoken of the coldness of the narrator. And, I agree. Overall, I really enjoyed this read. I gave this book 4 stars out of 5.

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2 thoughts on ““The Underground Railroad” Book Review

  1. I think we have to remember that for a lot of whites in the antebellum south they only knew what freedom was because they could look at black people and see what the lack of it looked like. This fabricated institution that is what people see as “whiteness” you only knew what it was because you could look at those who DIDN’T have it, see how they were treated and decide “nah I don’t want to be like them.” I’m glad they didn’t sugar coat it, you have to remember how violent, bloody, and dangerous slavery was. How barbaric the practice of owning beings that you did not see as human really was.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the book, even if life delayed the finish of it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 2016 Wrap up/2017 Reading Resolutions | BE Lauriette

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