Monday, September 14, 2009

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Linda Brent (review)

Title: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Author: Linda Brent
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 306
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal: B Bre
Cost: $0

While this particular book is available for free reading via Google or other sources, I picked up the LibriVox recording so I could listen to it during my drive time.

As to the basic plot of the novel, it follows Linda Brent through her life as a slave. Except her name really isn't Linda Brent, it's Harriet Ann Jacobs. Born into slavery in North Carolina, she suffered years of abuse from her master and years of love from a few members of her master's family. She was able to learn how to read and write but was abused at the same time. Talk about a love-hate relationship.

Harriet's journey through life clearly has hardships, as anyone would expect from the life of a slave. And while I'm sure some slaves had it easier than others and some had it worse, Harriet's life appeared to have a fair balance. Not that it made it any easier for her. Imagine spending seven years of your life in an attic just to hide from the person that claims to own you. I shudder at the thought.

But Harriet's tale does have a positive ending. Unlike some slaves, she was able to find freedom after years of being on the run and even managed to free her children. She died after living through the Civil War and living a life as a Christian and abolitionist.

In the end, this was a mixed tale, one of hope and sorrow, one of grief and happiness. While not as depressing as other auto-biographies could be, it certainly wasn't as happy and comedic as some. It was a great account of slave life and of the hardships they endured in slavery. Even more educational was learning how many hardships they'd endure to gain their freedom.

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