Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead


“Initially she assigned the devastation of Tennessee – the blaze and the disease- to justice. The whites got what they deserved. For enslaving people, for massacring another race, for stealing the very land itself. … But if people received their just portion of misfortune, what had she done to bring her troubles on herself?”

Cora was born on a plantation, but her grandmother was born on African soil. While she tries her best to deal with life as a slave, she must also deal with being an outcast living with the women whose psyches have been damaged and housing a heart damaged by her mother escaping for freedom without her. Her own mind does not even think about trying to escape until a fellow slave proposes they leave together.

I added this to my to-read list after a fellow Goodreads reader read it. It was an Oprah book club book and her choices are usually interesting. I also thought it would be good to read since I’m planning to read Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters this year, which explores the idea of America if the Civil War never happened.

Stories set in the time of slavery in America are often hard to read, but they need to be told. This one was especially hard to read because it showed a story of immense cruelty, but I’m sure it is as close to the truth as fiction can get. When humans are thought of as less than human, evil will find a way to be its cruelest. The harshness of the slave owners seems unfathomable, but some were surely beyond awful. Underground Railroad follows Cora on her journey to freedom and it’s a long, hard journey. However, once she tastes freedom in South Carolina, her heart is set on never going back. She finds herself slow to open herself up to love. Her complacency with her first taste of freedom proves an almost fatal mistake.

I would recommend this book to any adult who can handle reading scenes of torture. It reads like a true story even if it is fiction. It is important to know more about that period of time – history cannot repeat itself.

Buy the book here (affiliate link).

About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.