REVIEW: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

It took me a long time to decide whether to write a review about this book or not and it was mainly because I can’t do it justice. I also know that there are loads of reviews of this book since it won the National Book Award and was praised by Oprah and President Barack Obama. Well, ex-president, sadly… But I’m excited! I’ve made people read it and I kept discussing it with them because I needed to talk about all of my thoughts and when I failed to find people, I would go to Facebook and write a message to myself each time I remember something I wanted to say and no, I’m not crazy, “my mother had me tested”. (Well, not really but Sheldon’s mom did!) So with all this excitement and my desire to want more and more people reading it I decided it was finally time! So just in case my review doesn’t do it justice and you think it’s meeh and not worth your time, I stop you right there and go read it, peruse it, study it, flip through it, scan it! Just DO it. I mean really, Oprah loved it… She even made the publisher move the release date up by a month and if that’s not enough, I don’t know what is…

Let’s now move on to the review.

Résultat de recherche d'images pour  THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Published August 2nd 2016 by Doubleday Books
 
SYNOPSIS: Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. (more on Goodreads)
THOUGHTS: And here comes the interesting fangirling part! Or at least, I think it is. I know that there wasn’t an actual underground railroad but before reading this book I’ve never thought that there was this group of people trying to help enslaved people by putting their own lives at risk. That’s just to mention that The Underground Railroad is fictional created by Colson Whitehead to represent the safe houses that existed during the 19th century and that went from the South of the United States to Canada to make a way of escape for slaves. Now of course I cannot say that I know the history of slavery especially that books I’ve read about it are mainly fictional but it’s nice to pick some things up from each of these novels. I’ve read this book twice, once last December and a second time for the Diverseathon. It was on my list of favorite books of 2016 and I felt like I needed to reread the book to write a review because on my first read, I’ve failed to take any notes.
“The only way to known how long you are lost in the darkness is to be saved from it.”
I’ve never heard of Colson Whitehead before and have never read something by him so I was very surprised by his writing which I absolutely loved because he portrayed slavery in such a great way although this made it a bit harder to read because there were just so many feelings involved that could’ve not been felt if it weren’t for Whitehead’s writing and way of expression. I remember holding the book during my several commutes and sometimes closing my eyes and be like “ughh, I cannot read this anymore!” which is probably the reason it took me so long to read it. It was very raw and I felt very connected to the characters even though I felt like some of them were too superficially introduced and I didn’t get to know them and their inner feelings very well. I’m now very much looking forward to reading another book by him. If you had read any work by him before and you have any recommendations, please tell me about it!
“Some might call freedom the dearest currency of all.”
I’ve loved the mention that slave owners feared slaves who knew how to read and loved reading because with knowledge came power. This is something we still see nowadays. Knowledge is a very big power and could be used against many kinds of evil. There’s also a quote that struck me hard: “One might think one’s misfortune distinct, but the true horror lay in their universality.”. Cora, the main character, keeps encountering on her road more and more misfortunes. The terror could be felt all throughout the book which probably is what made the book so powerful. This book not only deals with slavery but also friendship, sacrifice and love. I was very affected by the book, thinking about all those people who didn’t have the chance to escape from slavery.
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone! This is the story of a girl who was born a slave and begins a journey towards freedom. It’s the story of the people she meets,  with those who will help her and those who will try to take her down. You’ll see a world that is divided by hate and racism. It is very thought provoking and the writing is just beautiful and was made for this kind of book so if you haven’t read it yet, please go and pick it up! And if you have, let me know about your thoughts in the comments down below! 🙂
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