The Underground Railroad

Thoughts tugrrbycw by Colson Whitehead, Doubleday Books 2016, 306 pages

Challenge: TOB Short List
Genre: Adult Fiction, Imaginative History?
Type/Source: Hardcover / Contest Win
 Why I read this now: Book arrived just as I finished Sudden Death

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Cora is a slave in Georgia and Caesar invites her to escape with him. They manage to hitch a ride on the Underground Railroad which is actually a real locomotive underground tunneling train ride rather than a metaphor. They spend quality time learning to read and working real jobs in South Carolina when they have an opportunity to catch the next rail out. Cora makes it to North Carolina but it’s not a happy spot, at all. If this part was truly based on real events, I had no idea. Chilling. There’s more adventure to follow for Cora but none of it is good.

WHAT’s GOOD: Imaginative. Chilling. 

What’s NOT so good: I didn’t connect to the characters. I kept comparing it to Homegoing, unfortunately. I don’t think this book had anything startling new to share on the topic of slavery. As Penny on Big Bang Theory said, “Slavery is bad.”

FINAL THOUGHTS: I could blame the circumstance of reading a review of someone on goodreads who REALLY didn’t like this book and I have often found her reviews insightful and interesting, especially on the merits of literature. I think I ended up looking for those details and negativities but I really do want to say that reading the book was a meaningful experience for me and I’m sure the many wonderful reviews are valid. Please read this for yourself and let’s have some fascinating discussion during the March Tournament, ok? And remind me NOT to read reviews while I’m in the middle of a book!!!

RATING: Remember, three stars says I LIKED IT. I wasn’t blown away by it, I preferred other TOB books of late. But I’m glad to have read it.

I thank Jeanne of Necromancy Doesn’t Pay for sending me this book. She shares that this book is “powerfully written and deeply disturbing.” Please read Jeanne’s review here. 

 

 

pierating

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16 thoughts on “The Underground Railroad

  1. I liked this a lot, but I didn’t love it, mostly because of the characters not being really interesting on their own. But I really liked the way he played around with history, letting us see lots of different kinds of discrimination and cruelty. It’s almost like the train was a time machine, which seemed really clever to me.

  2. I’ve got a copy of this one but probably won’t get to it for quite some time. That may not be a bad thing. Hype does tend to ruin a book for me.

    BTW, I owe you 2 letters, now. Sorry about that. I just haven’t sat down to do anything but bill paying, lately.

  3. litandlife

    Definitely deeply disturbing. I loved the idea that the Underground Railroad was a real railroad. Having just read the story of a real slave, the never ending horrors of it didn’t seem all that farfetched as I might otherwise have thought.

  4. So far, I have really high hopes for this book and I want to read it. I haven’t read any critical reviews to date but yours but I’m going to still keep my high hopes up. I don’t know when I’ll get to it though.

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