The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 10/9/19-10/17/19

Set in the time of the Underground Railroad in the US, Hiram Walker was born out of rape to a slave mother. His father was his master. He grew up on the property, and was gifted with an eidetic memory. As he grew, he began to develop feelings for his brother’s slave woman, Sophia. He was the person forced to drive her to his estate and back, but he also kept up a relationship with her outside of that. One night, they decided to run for freedom and they were caught.

Hiram was sent to a prison where he was starved and tasked. He was put in a death pit where he was allowed to get out and try to run, giving the white trappers a chance to catch and torture him every time he did so. One of those runs, he was able to escape to the Underground.

While in the Underground, Hiram worked often with Harriet Tubman as a forger to provide passes for the slaves they set to free. He creates passes to get his fellow conductor’s family out of Alabama. His mentor goes to get the family and he dies after capture. Hiram takes this personally, so he works on getting Sophia and the woman who raised him, Thena. He is forced to go back and work for his father, where he plots his plan for conduction.

While this book has Oprah’s seal of approval, I struggled to get through this one. I am unsure if it is because I don’t feel connected to the culture, or if it is because I am easily bored by historical fiction, but I had to go back and recheck sections because I had gaps in my memory. The hardest part for me is that I don’t know how I would change anything about the book. It is very good for what it is, I just did not keep interest as well as other books. I would ultimately give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

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