Boozy Books: The Underground Railroad

Happy -um… Not-quite-Friday! Welcome to a slightly late edition of Boozy Books, which I would have written earlier had I not slumped into a useless blob after rehearsal today.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m working on upping my reading game so I have more pairing selections to share with you. And it’s working! Today’s book is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. This novel is admittedly a tough read, given the horrific history and nature of slavery in this country, but it is beautifully written, tracing the heritage of a race that has fought, endured, and risen in the face of incredible adversity, unfounded prejudices, and imagined superiority.

Though the storyline is fiction, it reflects upon the problems of racial conflict by exploring the very roots where they were born. Namely, in the deep south. The story follows Cora, a girl who is the third generation of her line to be enslaved at the Randall farm. Having already lived a hard life, made harder by the disappearance of her mother (assumed to have escaped north), Cora lives day by day, resigned to get life with no hope or dream to reach for freedom. It is Caesar, a would-be freeman whose previous owner neglected to write a will that ensured his freedom, that proposes an escape to Cora. 

From the moment they begin to run the book is filled with tension and the constant wariness of being hunted. Every moment of assumed safety is questioned and the running never stops. But the willpower, hope, and determination grow stronger despite setbacks. And Whitehead’s message is clear: you may never stop running from oppressors or fighting for your freedom, but it is better to do so then give up and go back to the dark days of the past.

Due to the heavy nature of this book and the weight of its importance I’m pairing this book with something light that won’t affect your ability to process and retain what’s on the page. Consider a pear cider.

Happy reading!

-A

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