This is probably one of the biggest releases of the year.
If you hadn’t read already, Oprah picked it as her next book club pick.
She moved up the publication date like more than a month.
So soon as like that whole hullabaloo happen I picked up the book immediately.
I was planning on reading it but that will be just really solidified it for me.
In this story you are following the slave named Cora who is working on this plantation in Georgia.
She is you know not only a slave on this plantation, but she is sort of an outcast from all the other slaves on the plantation.
She is sort of infamous on this plantation because her mother ran away and left her behind and was one of the only slaves to run away from this plantation and actually like stay away.
Like no one knows what has happened to Cora’s mother but they just assume that she’s made it somewhere up north, possibly Canada.
Cora’s a little bit bitter about the fact that, you know, her mother left her behind.
And then one day Cora is approached by this new slave named Caesar and he basically tells her about this thing called the Underground Railroad and suggest that they run away together.
He wants her to come along with because he thinks she might be some sort of like good luck charms since her mother was one of the only slaves to be able to get away.
And in this story that underground railroad is a literal railroad.
So there are like actual train cars running underground with actual conductors, the stops are different peoples houses.
And so this story just follows Cora and Caesar as they run away from this plantation.
And about how they are just constantly seeking freedom.
This book was so fantastic.
It’s super brutal and heartbreaking and honest and just so well done.
Colson Whitehead’s writing is just so on point in this book.
I have never read any Colson Whitehead book, I should say that.
So I don’t know if his writing it always like this.
But there’s something about the way this book is written that’s so masterfully done.
His writing style in this book is slightly detached.
I’ve seen people describe it as being almost clinical, which is definitely true.
But I think that’s done with a purpose.
I feel like that reflects sort of the detatched nature that Cora has throughout this story, being a slave, dealing with extremely difficult and brutal situations.
I feel like Cora herself is sort of detached from the things happening around her and the writing reflects that.
I think that the detached style also provides a way for the reader to deal with the extremely violent things that happen in this book.
There’s no sugarcoating the violence in this.
This isn’t a book that’s violent like A Brief History of Seven Killings was violent.
There’s less violence in this book than there is in that book, so that also helps as well.
But I feel like the violence almost comes out of nowhere.
There’s no warning, there’s no sort of like leading up to it.
There was like points in this book where I was reading what was happening and I could see sort of like the tensions rising a little bit, but then all of a sudden someone would get like killed and you’re just like, “holy cow, did that actually just happened?”
I would have to like go back and re-read passages because it happened so fast and it happened so quick and it was so immediate that I thought that I had missed something but really that’s just the way that white people treated slaves in those days.
They didn’t really wait around for explanations or anything.
As soon as they were irritated with them they would turn to violence.
Cora spends basically this entire book on the run, terrified that she’s going to get captured by the slave hunters and be taken back to Georgia.
And so she’s constantly questioning whether or not she’s free because she’s always hiding.
There’s multiple times in this book where she’s had to like hide her identity, physically hide herself, and the sacrifices that she has to make in order to seek any sort of non-slave lifestyle is just so intense and so extreme.
Just as soon as Cora thinks she can let her guard down or the reader feels like that they can let their guard down, Colson Whitehead finds a new way to sort of bring in tension, bring in conflict.
I felt like I was constantly on the edge of my seat trying to see how Cora’s story was going to turn out.
Because there is no way to predict it because her life was just a roller coaster.
It just keeps going back and forth, back and forth and it just never lets the reader go.
Another thing that I really liked about this book is that there are chapters interspersed in here from other characters’ point of views.
So you get to see the point of view of like a slave hunter, you get to see the point of view of Caesar, you get to see the point of view of like the wife of one of the people who agrees to sort of hide Cora in their house.
And these chapters are like significantly long.
So basically the way is like there’s like a chunk or section about Cora’s life and there’s like a one really quick chapter from the point of view of a character that you had just been reading about or had been a part of Cora’s life in that previous chapter.
Then you read another chunk and then you get another character’s point of view.
And I really enjoyed that because it just provided sort of another angle to this whole world.
It sort of provided you as the reader some different point of views of why someone would be a slave hunter, why someone would not want to help out these slaves or why someone would want to help out the slaves, what are the different things sort of driving these different characters and I really, really enjoyed that.
So yeah, in the end, like I said, I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars, really highly recommend it.
I think the only reason why it wasn’t a 5 out of 5 star book for me was because of the detached nature of the writing.
So I don’t know if that’s going to affect other people’s reading of this book, but oh, so good, totally highly recommend it.
Definitely worth picking up.
It’s a pretty quick read.
It took me a little bit of time to read, but that’s just because the Olympics were happening and I kept getting distracted.
And it’ll definitely be in my like top books of the year, I already know that.
If you’ve read this book, feel free to leave a comment down below letting me know what you guys out of it.
Or if you have any questions about the book feel free to leave that down in the comment section as well.
Or if you’ve read any other Colson Whitehead, definitely recommend me some of his other books.
I know that all of his books are extremely different from one another so I’m not completely sure which one to go with next.
There’s another one called zone something that can’t remember off the top of my head exactly that deals with like zombies I’ve heard of and it just seems intriguing.
It’s one that I’ve heard recommended a lot of times when it comes to Colson Whitehead.
So I definitely am interested in reading more of his books now for sure.
So yeah, that’s all I have for now and thanks for reading.
====================================================Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A4ATV0A