Cuddle Bug kept going to the same part of the children’s section in the library and picking out books.  They all had to do with the underground railroad.  We read so many of those books that she and PB & J Girl were able to earn a badge from American Heritage Girls about the underground railroad.  I, too, have been reading more books about that.  I read a book on the underground railroad earlier that year, but admittedly, that was fluff.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead was anything but fluff.  It was a tough, gritty book to read.

The story follows several slaves’ lives, but the main focus is on Cora and Caesar, two slaves who decide to escape to the North together.

In this story, the Underground Railroad is a real train that they board to escape.  The railroad has different legs and much of the journey is literally underground, on specially built tracks laid deep in the earth.

While I enjoyed reading about Cora and Caesar’s escape, this book is full of harsh brutality and is not for the faint of heart.  Several situations in this book bothered me so much that I had trouble reading more.

I think that much of our country’s history with slavery is whitewashed.  We know that it was not a good institution and that it was horrible for the slaves, but we don’t dwell on just how horrible it was.  This book forces you to think about the horror that slaves lived with every day of their lives.  They were truly at the mercy of their master.  While there were a few good masters, many were brutal tyrants, and often the slaves had to pay with their lives, but only after being tortured in unspeakable ways.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.