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on 4 March 2011
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....

Although I love to read this isn't a book that I would have really bought for myself, I much prefer science fiction or horror to biographies. But as the Kindle edition was free to download and I have the Kindle for Android app on my phone I decided to give it a go and found it was quite a revelation. Although the book is in no way graphic, we are left in doubt as to how difficult and humiliating life is for a young woman growing up as the property of another man. As the book progressed, I really found myself sympathising with Linda and rooting for her in her quest for freedom for both herself and her children.

In the main part the language used is easy to read and the conversational style almost makes it feel as if we're sitting next to Linda as she tells us her story. There are a few points in the book where she uses patois, which I found a little harder to follow, and there are also points where the 'N' word is used. Thinking long and hard about it, the fact that this book is a slave girl telling us this story, means that this language is exactly how she would have spoken, and to remove those words because we now find them offensive would have been in fact offensive to her memory. Throughout the whole book you really do get to understand Linda's motivations and empathise with her, as she recounts both her own and the stories of those around her with just the right level detail. Her love and respect for her Grandmother really did show through as did her fear of disappointing those who had given up so much for her.

Due to the subject matter there are obviously some very emotional points in the book, there were a couple of chapters that brought tears to my eyes and the ending was a true depiction of triumph over adversity. Although there are no graphic descriptions of the treatment that Linda and other slaves received, nothing is glossed over. So it's easy to picture the fear that countless thousands of men, women and children lived in and how hard life must have been for them. But this isn't just the story of a slave, it's the story of a grand-daughter, mother, and indeed a whole country.

Unlike other books that I have read that cover the subject of slavery, there's no glossing over of the North's involvement in the vile trade. By the last page we are left in no doubt of the North's complicity in returning those slaves who have escaped persecution back to their masters. All in all this book gives a fascinating insight into the life of slaves, in particular females slaves, their hopes and fears and the attitudes of those around them, all from the view point of a very brave woman, who was willing to lay her life down to secure freedom for herself and her children. While I wouldn't particularly recommend this to the youngest of teenagers, I do think it's a worthwhile read for anyone aged fifteen and up. And I feel this book would probably be of far more interest to female readers than male, only because it is the story of a very strong, inspirational woman. As far as stars out of five go, I've no hesitation in giving Incidents From The Life Of A Slave Girl, five out of five, and there's no doubt that I will at some point be reading it again, as well as encouraging friends and family to give it a try.
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on 19 March 2017
Imagine Gandhi, Darwin, Gates or even yourself being made to cut corn, grovel and never being allowed to read a book. This man was amazing. I've read his other books too (read them!). He opens up the past through his words in a way that lets you see the horrors of slavery without giving you nightmares for the rest of your life. Anyone who reads this will marvel at the man's intelligence and his resilience. If he were born today I wonder what he'd have become. This shows the sad and awful waste of humanity that slavery was, not only to each poor individual trapped in it's disgusting web but also to society as a whole.
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on 28 May 1999
I've read this book a few times over the years. The first being for a college course. It stayed with me then as it did each and every time I've read it. I highly recommend this novel as it is so frighteningly realistic and poignant. I have found myself many times recommending this novel to friends and family. It is rich in culture, history and plot. I highly recommend it.
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on 14 September 2016
It was interesting to read about his life from child to manhood as a slave. It is shocking to read of the cruelty suffering and injustice endured at the hands of a master. The unbelievable inhumanity of the slave owners from one generation to the next and the Christian Church complicit in maintaining this horrendous way of life. Frederick story lives on with its moral message for future generations. A dreadful shame of past times and human suffering.
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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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on 21 July 2017
Most are of course aware of the outline of historical slavery in America through books and other media. There were therefore large parts of the book which told a familiar story. What really provoked thought however was the less familiar aspects - no "spoilers" here - which really re-emphasised the impact on individuals.
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on 29 April 2017
Always a bit dubious of old books, but this was a really good read and no issues with the language/dialect. Hardest thing is getting to grips with the violence,whipping and rape that slaves lived with in day to day life. I've recently watched 10 Years a Slave which is similar tale
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on 6 July 2017
This should never have happened,today it's war with religion and greed then it was sheer cruelty ,white black we bleed.
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on 26 April 2017
Exactly what I expected. Very good reading.
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on 18 July 2017
Unputdownable book; gripping and at times, heart wrenching memoir of a woman who lived during the years of slavery in America. It renews faith in the human spirit to defy all odds and remain true to its majesty.
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