Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

How I Heard About It:  I was an avid reader of novels published for adults before I became obsessed with middle-grade and young-adult novels.  Over the years I would read the Oprah book club books.  Some of them I loved and some of them were definitely not for me.  It has been awhile since I have really enjoyed an Oprah pick.  I think the last one that really captivated me was Wild.  When I heard she announced this novel, I read some reviews and it seemed like many readers really enjoyed the story.  

What It Is About:  This isn't an easy book to summarize.  The story follows Cora is a young slave girl living on a cotton plantation in Georgia.  She doesn't fit in with the slave owners and/or the other slaves.  She lives her life on her own and tries to make the best of a difficult situation.  Caesar, another slave from Virginia, arrives and tells Cora about the "underground railroad".  The difference with the well-known railroad in history, is that there is an actual underground railroad helping slaves escape.  Cora and Caesar plan their escape.  What follows is an incredible journey of fear, heartache, abuse, terror, and survival.  She travels from state to state and encounters different situations and people on each of her stops.  The main goal is for her to reach freedom and a life that she has always dreamed of.  

What I Thought Of It:  I went into this reading a tad bit fearful that I wouldn't enjoy the novel.  Once I started the first few chapters I fell into a rhythm of a beautiful reading experience.  There were parts when I was confused and found myself having to do some rereading, but isn't that what we teach our young readers to do.  I was also confused on the realistic part of the story and the "magical" aspects, but once I let that go, everything fell into place.  The writing in this novel is outstanding and the author sure does know how to tell a story.  There were parts that were deeply disturbing, but when telling about this experience it should be upsetting.  I'm glad I gave this Oprah pick a chance and hope she announces more wonderful stories in the future.  

Who Should Read It:  This is definitely an adult read.  If you have followed Oprah's Book Club in the past, then this is a novel for you.  Adult readers that enjoy historical fiction, especially focused on slavery, this is the book for you.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

No comments:

Post a Comment