My standout thoughts during and after reading The Underground Railroad were around the treatment of humans (and all organisms). I almost assumed that Cora would get used to her poor-quality of life – that she would perhaps surrender to it – but you can’t turn people into robots or take the human part out of them. No matter how much you abuse someone, they still feel the pain, and they feel it deeply. Even if you expect to be assaulted, your body can’t prepare itself in the same way that you brain can, and even your brain can’t prepare itself fully. This book doesn’t romanticise a thing but it draws you in and reminds you of the cruelty and horror of that time just when you were getting too snuggly with the characters.