Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"The Underground Railroad" book review

"The Negro's story may have started in this country with degradation, but triumph and prosperity will be his one day." Colson Whitehead
 My Ratings: 5 stars
Goodreads Ratings: 4.06 stars
"The Underground Railroad" follows a young woman, Cora who is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia.  She befriends a man name Caesar who tells her all about the underground railroad, which can lead them to freedom.  Of course, this path to freedom does not come easy and leads Cora into some painful situations.  She faces death, hate, and mistrust on this road.  She grows up and begins to find her true self and strength on this journey.  
We all have heard stories about the underground railroad, read books, saw movies, or was taught about this secret path to freedom.  As I read this novel, I must say this was one of the best accounts of history.  I wondered how old Cora was in this story, but being a slave you didn't have a birthday.  I wondered about her family members, however her family could have been sold off, since as a slave you watched your family get sold to other slave owners. 
Being a slave at that time was horrible.  The living conditions were poor, food was scarce or you were given scraps to eat.  You were raped, beaten, and killed all because you were black.  As a slave or if you were free, you were injected with diseases such as Syphilis to help doctors find cures or medicine to fight those diseases. Or if you were a woman, you forced to sterilization just for being what people thought were "ugly" or "too stupid".   Also, while traveling on the underground railroad, you were reminded that your life is on the line by rows of dead bodies hanging on trees.  I guess reminding those slaves that if you slip up and get caught or make a mistake, you will join those dead bodies. 
As an African American, I could not fathom what my ancestors would have went through.  While reading this book, I had to stop many times because well the same hate described in the book is being displayed within our society.  It seems as though it is easy to hate, judge, or hurt those who are different from you or  hate those you  don't understand. 
One point I learned about this hate was that as an African American you are generationally taught to not trust white Americans.  Cora was taught by her mother and grandmother about the abuse they went through and then Cora witnesses this same abuse and mistrust first hand.  Imagine Cora having a family, she would share the same judgements to her children that what she went through and then it goes on and on.  This applies to many African Americans in our country.  They were told stories, then personally they either were hurt by a white American or witnessed something that confirmed that truth and they go on to teach their children to fear  white Americans and then it gets past on and on.  In order to stop this generational curse or hate, we must identify this hate, and acknowledge that it must not continue. But let's face it, that is unrealistic.  So our job is to respect each other and our differences and understand that it is better to love one another than to live in hate.

"And American, too is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes, believes with all its heart that it is their right to take the land.  To kill Indians.  Make war.  Enslave their brothers.  This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty.  Yet here we are."

This review was based solely on my opinion and I was not compensated for this review in anyway.

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