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301 of 308 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As told by herself
Although Linda has been treated fairly well, she is still a slave and as such suffers from the degradations and deprivations that all slaves suffered in the southern states of America during the eighteen hundreds. Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl tells of Linda's struggles and triumphs over her `condition' in her own words, spanning several decades...
Published on 4 Mar. 2011 by Ms S. Dempsey

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3.0 out of 5 stars Incidents of a Slave girl.
I am sorry but I found it too much like bare facts so after a few chapters I couldn't read it any more. I know this sort of action does go on and there have been some as explicite in the news. How any-one could treat a human being, as the girl who told her story, could do these dreadful things to another doesn't bare thinking about. They are not insane just...
Published 4 months ago by kildare


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enlightening, 10 Feb. 2011
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this was a lovely, touching, moving read, beautifully written, a story where kindness towards fellow human beings only extends to those of pale complexion....although i was always aware of the cruelty of slavery, having it written in the first person with an almost clinical detachment made it extremely harrowing and impacted on me the inhumanity faced daily by the enslaved....well worth a read, prepare to be unpleasantly surprised!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not over yet, 7 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Harriet Jacobs had me mesmerised. Her language, honesty and tact veiled the horrors of her young life in the way the ladies of her day veiled their bodies: to reveal more by understatement.

I was led to this book by THE HElP, a modern read that sensitively pointed the way to the literature of American slavery. Coming from a background of Caribbean history the suffocating interconnectedness of the American experience was fully explained by Jacobs' repeated references to family connections and her sorrowful descriptions of male slaves' powerlessness to rile against the system. Discussions ensued in my family about why our people challenged slavery earlier and with much more aggression.

Compassion flowed to Harriet. Images of her life avoiding humiliation, insofar as she could, entrapped in her own liberating prison, hanging on to hope despite snakesbites, disease and suffering and finally meeting mentors who shielded and protected her were gripping. All of this was told in the measured, elegant prose of the eighteen hundreds. Jane Austen did not write with more restraint and the cadences of the language forced me to slow down and savour the story.

This is a book to bless the world. Slavery still goes on. Women's independence is still challenged and curtailed in all kinds of ways. This book is to galvanise the sisters and to remind all of us that the struggle isn't over yet. It isn't over till we win.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself, 5 July 2011
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I wasn't going to read this book as the title itself suggests a harrowing existence. The reviews prompted me download and read it...and i'm so glad I did. I agree that it is beautifully written which enables the reader to really sink into this dreadful account.

This book highlights the shameful past of the US and how it was for families born into the pure evil that slavery is. How could anyone ever think that it was ok or normal to treat human beings as less than even animals because of the colour of their skin? To know that slavery still exists in some parts of the world today is unimaginable. Linda could have curled up and died a multitude of times but she persevered through endless hell in order to save and secure her children. Her faith in God was tested so many times,and still she trusted that He would do right by her and her family. That is love!

Be prepared to feel every emotion as you read this account of the slave girl's life. You're going to need tissues, herbal tea to calm you down and some quiet time to digest it all.

I wish I had read this at school instead of Kes! Download it now, it's a fabulous read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe the other reviewers- an utter gem, 6 April 2011
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Recycled Rabbit (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
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This book was worth getting the Kindle on its own. Harriet Jacobs, writing under the pseudonym of Linda Brent finally published her autobiography in 1861.

I've never got on with 19th century American literature, finding it stuffy and sonorous. This is fresh, compelling, exciting and horribly tragic. The day to day terrors of slavery in North Carolina- her grandmother is "permitted" to run a bakery business to make spare cash- when she saves up $300 dollars and looks like she's going to be able to buy the freedom of one of her family, her mistress insists on "borrowing" the money to buy a candlestick- she never pays the money back. Then there are floggings, rapes, confinements until the slave rots to death, casual sales of family members as pieces of live meat.

Yet in spite of this Harriet's family's spirit to survive and believe there is some way out continues- a little spark of hope. This is as stirring as Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China.

The only scary feeling I had when I started to read it, was that I felt echoes of the children's book, Black Beauty, -the one written in 1877 in the character of a horse facing the tortures of being used by humans. As "ex-slave literature" had been doing the rounds in the UK and at least ended the system in the West Indies under British rule in 1833, I'm not so sure that I'm not being fanciful about this.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Moving, 10 Feb. 2011
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You cannot read this without being moved. Heartbreaking account of the life of a slave and her fight for freedom for both herself and her children. I had to keep reminding myself this was a real life account and not a fictional novel. Exceptional read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a moving true account, 26 Jan. 2011
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beautifully written account of the life story of a slave and her bid to free herself and her children of the shackles of slavery.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 5 Feb. 2011
A harrowing account of what it was like back in the evil days of slavery. Everyone should read this as part of a social history of the world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read., 27 July 2014
This review is from: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
If you were like me and thought you had an idea what the life of a slave must have been like, then think again and read this!
I understood that slaves were bought and sold by rich whites to work on their estates in order to maximise profit. In my ignorance I did not appreciate, until reading this book, the extent to which a slave was actually completely and utterly owned. That ownership was absolute and extended to the offspring of women slaves also, so there was a never ending supply of slaves into the future. It was shocking to find out that a slave owner left their slaves to their offspring in their will in EXACTLY the same way as we leave objects of worth such as a home to ours. This meant that a slave who had worked for decades for a mistress could, on the death of that mistress, find herself the slave of the deceased's daughter (who may be very young indeed, e.g. 3yrs old in one example in this book).
The book also tells of the torture and abuse that was systematically handed out to slaves with importunity by the 'civilised' whites.
For the most part the events of Harriet's life are told in a somewhat cool tone; you are told what happens, but she doesn't then pour over the emotional distress she feels, but leaves it for the reader to imagine. On occasions she comes across as extremely forgiving, understanding and genuinely sorry for some of the kinder slave owners who she felt were also being brutalised (emotionally at least) by this evil system.
This is, as everyone knows, an incredibly important book, and whilst the style may seem old fashioned to some, I found it an easy but always troubling read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What it was really like to be a slave, 21 Mar. 2012
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This is a fantastic book. I like a story written with such skill that you become immersed in the characters and you read on as if you are there. Here we have that in spades working down through the generations of the family. Hollywood has given all of us a picture of the indignity and cruelty of the slave owners and traders towards the slaves, so that part of the story isn't new to the reader. What I found new to me was the inner feelings of hopelessness that these unfortunate people felt. Anyone who has been subjected to the intense military training in an elite regiment will know how it feels to be bullied all hours day and night without any means to retaliate. What we had though was an end point, we knew how long the training would go on for and also our release date from the forces. The unfortunate slaves had no end point to look forward to, they had no way out, no light at the end of the tunnel. We are made aware in the modern world how cruel humans can become when they have total control over someone, e.g. prisoners of war etc. It is easy to become like animals in our behaviour. Have we made progress towards civilisation in the past 100 years? Do we still have the capacity to treat people as objects?
Having read the book it has made me think a bit more deeply and I worry that given the circumstances we are no different from the slave owners of yesteryear. The writer wanted the world to know what it was like to live as a slave and she has succeeded after all these years through writing her story to make me understand her problems and the problems still facing society at large. We owe it to her to read her story carefully.
The only criticism that I have is in understanding who wrote the book as we see it, the author or the editors and compilers. Whoever deserves the credit, they did a fine job.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless, 30 Dec. 2011
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This book is truly priceless. It contains a unique story that could not have been told in a more personal way, and I feel the world is a better place to have this book in it. That sounds ridiculous, but I cannot recommend this book enough.
Unfortunately I have never read any other slave-based novels, but I have been subjected to history books; if they are anything to go by, here is how this book is different:
Don't think that because it is about the life of a slave, it is a harrowing book with detailed descriptions of terrible punishments. It is nothing like that! When horrible punishments or treatments ARE mentioned, though it is focused upon and not to be brushed over, it feels as if she did not want to dwell on such things herself. It is not full of slave horror stories and instead tells a story which feels much more accessible emotionally. You will not be reading this book constantly feeling guilty, and as if you want to cry the whole time. For that reason, it is fantastic, because you can get past the horrific surface and delve deeper into the, as she likes to put it, the pure "degradation of slavery".
My ONLY criticism is that the text is not laid out nicely. There is no gap between chapters and paragraphs are often a bit iffy in their method of distinction, but the story and quality of writing is so brilliant you will soon not notice it.
It's free - get it! I would have been happy to pay a lot for this book, though I wouldn't have got it if it had not been free, and I feel honoured that it was so easily available.
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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover Thrift Editions)
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover Thrift Editions) by Harriet Jacobs (Paperback - 28 Dec. 2001)
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