Sunday, February 19, 2017

#Review - The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Title: The Underground Railroad
By: Colson Whitehead
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: August 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Doubleday Books

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor - engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven - but the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.


Review: I think with all the hype around this book, my expectations were too high. There was a lot about this book that rubbed me the wrong way. The writing had no depth. It was all tell and no show. The story lacked substance. I felt like it could have ended halfway through and the second half was just fluff to make the book long enough. There were secondary character stories that didn't seem to do much for the story and were confusing. I wanted an amazing historical fiction and what I got was a badly written letter. I gave this book two stars.




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