My latest read is one of the more powerful books that I have read. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is a book I picked up on a whim, while I was actually searching for another book. I gave it shot because one, it was discounted and two, the back cover says it was part of Oprah's 2016 Book Club. If Oprah says it's good, then it has to be, right?
I admit that it took me a few days to get into this story, but once it picked up, it really picked up. The story follows a slave, Cora's journey to escape slavery through the underground railroad.
"The underground railroad is bigger than its operators -it's all of you, too. The small spurs, the big thick lines. We have the newest locomotives and the obsolete engines, and we have handcars like that one. It goes everywhere, to places we know and those we didn't. We got this tunnel here, running beneath us, and no one knows where it leads. If we keep the railroad running, and none of us can figure it out, maybe you can."
Cora escapes in hopes of obviously finding a better life, but also to find her mother, Mabel, who also escaped and seemingly disappeared. Escaping the Randall's plantation is daunting enough, but things really get complicated when Cora kills a slave hunter along the way.
This book is powerful in so many different ways. It highlights the bravery involved in those who built and transported slaves through the underground railroad as well as the bond between all involved to keep it a secret. Whitehead also includes other important topics into the story including the difference in slave laws in different states and doctors infecting blacks with syphilis.
As I read, I could visualize Cora each step of the way. I felt her fear as she hid under her bed as slave hunters stormed the house she was in. I felt her pain when she was beat and I felt her bravery each time she made it to her next destination.
"Here's one delusion: that we can escape slavery. We can't. It's scars will never fade. When you saw your mother sold off, your father beaten, your sister abused by some boss or master, did you ever think you would sit here today, without chains, without the yoke, among a new family? Everything you ever knew told you that freedom was a trick -yet here you are. Still we run, tracking by the good full moon to sanctuary."
This is undoubtedly a book I would recommend. It provides an element of suspense as well as a wealth of knowledge.