Honest Review of Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize Winning Novel, The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, The Underground Railroad doesn't disappoint in its ability to weave a powerful tale of hardship, injustice, and also resilience.
The book follows the story of Cora as she escapes the confines of slavery thanks to the Underground Railroad...and also her sense of determination. Her journey begins in hardship and continues in hardship as she faces loss, obstacles, doubt, fear, and capture over and over. The book keeps you reading because there are so many twists and turns. It is a sorrowful read that will stick with you and remind you that so many lives have been filled with hardship and suffering. It really made me think about my own life in that sense.
Cora's character is one riddled with complexities. She is courageous but also, as any of us would, demonstrates fear and frustration. There are points of despair and hopelessness as well as extreme isolation. However, I admired her determination to not only survive, but to survive and find a life of freedom and joy. Living was not enough for Cora; she wanted to live with the power of choice and dignity, something that clearly every human being deserves.
This book was a harsh reminder of the cruelties of the American past. Whitehead displays not only the struggles and horrors of the time period, but also the many complexities that supported and promoted slavery at this time. He sheds a light on a particularly cruel part of history through a human lens. He, thus, paints the emotional and human side of slavery and escape from slavery, allowing the reader to feel every single emotion during Cora's trials. The book was a reminder that so many lives were not only lost during this time period, but also so many lives tainted by hate, prejudice, and a lack of dignity.
This is a poignant, difficult story about a harrowing journey to freedom that will remind every reader that life isn't about money, fame, or success as we define it: the true point of life is to live a life of freedom and conviction. In addition, it's about empathy for all of humanity and standing up for what is right.
Whitehead allows these messages to stand strong through the characters he created and the raw, gritty telling of their story.
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