Monday, October 1, 2018

A Slave's Story

Twelve Years a SlaveTwelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerful and apparently true firsthand account from a free black man sold into slavery and his first to be free again.

Twelve Years a Slave is gut-wrenching stuff written by an immensely readable writer. Northup's journey is incredible...almost too incredible to believe. One has to continually remind oneself that he was not born into slavery, nor was he taken from overseas. His education is evident. This is no ignorant man denied an education and made to struggle along communicating with English as an untaught second language. In his accounts of his time upon Louisiana plantations he often is clearly more intelligent than his masters. So accustomed have we become to hearing former slave accounts relayed in some kind of pidgin English that it makes this cleanly and concisely related narrative seem like a fabrication.

The brutality is so finely detailed, the complete lack of justice so well elucidated and the story unfolded so seamlessly, that a reader wouldn't be faulted for mistaking Northup for an established novelist.

Twelve Years a Slave is gripping for its subject and execution, and I highly recommend it.

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