Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad was not always easy to read. The first several chapters were, in fact, very difficult and I almost put the book down. I’m so glad I kept going. Cora’s journey is difficult, tragic, and amazing. The people she meets along the way will infuriate you.
Cora’s story begins on a plantation in Georgia, and truth be told, doesn’t ever end, even as the book does. The descriptions of the real railroad that Cora speeds along are so detailed, as is all the writing. I honestly felt like I was in the places and with the people. And at times, I wanted to punch people on Cora’s behalf.
As Cora runs towards freedom she encounters many of the people you expect but also some you don’t. Her story is a rollercoaster of finding safety and shelter only to have it all upended again. And it is the story of white people never truly allowing blacks to live as free people. And I have to wonder if many ever have been or will be. In this story the seeds of what is still ongoing today are laid bare. And I’m still processing and thinking about it.