The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel - Colson Whitehead

Cora watched, she was silent but she took in everything and she knew it wouldn’t be long before she would have to leave. She had been a slave to Master James on his cotton plantation, living there with her mother until her mother decided one evening to escape, leaving Cora behind. Years later, it is now Cora’s turn to flee as someone has their eyes on her. Running off with Caesar, they take to the night using the Underground Railroad, where Caesar has set up the connection. They are trying to stay undetected in white man’s country using the rails. The author’s use of a railroad with cars and a conductor for the Underground Railroad was a creative and unique twist in this novel. As they became free, each time the train was to arrive in their current city of residency, Cora and Caesar had to decide whether to continue on in their journey for freedom or to stay where they were, it all depended on the train and how they felt at the time of that train’s arrival. They couldn’t just leave any time they wanted. When they arrived at their first free city, they had assumed their new identities but now they also had to learn how to be free.


I thought the writing style of this novel was different, I had a hard time grasping some of the sentences as they were strung together. Some of what Cora sees is horrific and hits a nerve with me. For Cora to watch this and not say anything or to have any type of visible reaction, I have to commend her, for she had to be deaden to see this type of abuse and not react. For Cora and Caesar, to be trying to live a life of freedom but to be constantly running/looking over their shoulders for the bounty hunters who have a price on their heads, I don’t know how long my nerves could handle it? I enjoyed following them, Cora wanted her freedom and she was determined not to go back to her previous life. I’m debating between a 3.5 and a 4 on this novel.