My Little Pocketbooks: Review: 12 Years A Slave   

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review: 12 Years A Slave
12 Years A Slave
Author: Solomon Northup
Genre:  Slave Narrative, Non-Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release Date: September 4, 2013
Paperback: 288 pages

Source: Purchased from Mysterious Galaxy
Buy the Book: Amazon
Book Description
Now a major motion picture starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, and Alfre Woodard, this tie-in edition features a foreword from acclaimed director Steve McQueen
Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.
After his rescue, Northup published this exceptionally vivid and detailed account of slave life. It became an immediate bestseller and today is recognized for its unusual insight and eloquence as one of the very few portraits of American slavery produced by someone as educated as Solomon Northup, or by someone with the dual perspective of having been both a free man and a slave.

Like most book lovers I NEVER, EVER see the movie before reading the book.  NEVER!  Until now.  
A week before I started reading this book I went to see the movie with the ladies from my book club.  This book was selected as our November book of the month.  The theme of the month was "Book to Movie", so of course we had to see the movie together. 
FYI, this is not going to be a review about the movie at all. 
The story of Solomon Northup starts out giving the reader a sense of the life he lead as a born-free African American living in the North with a wife and three children.  Solomon was a musician and very well respected in his community by Whites and Blacks alike.  After accepting a temporary job to play with a traveling "circus" Solomon is mislead and drugged by his employers in captivity.  This is were the book gets...sad...upsetting...frustrating...speechless!
Solomon gives the readers an overview of his twelve long agonizing years as a plantation worker who's life and family mean nothing at all to his overseers and Masters.  Solomon unlike many of his fellow slaves could read and write and if anyone knew it, would mean his death. 
Could you image?  First being kidnapped then having your name changed?  Sold into slavery with all of its brutality, hunger, and misery?  Despite all of that Solomon keep a small glimmer of hope throughout it all.  
At times I had to remind myself this is non-fiction.  This is the real deal 100%.   
I loved his writing style and the way the author described his environment.  But there were a few places where I felt the descriptive writing was not needed.  But overall it was a eye-opening read. 
I feel this book should be a must read for ALL American High School students at the junior and senior level.  This a must read for everyone.

Audiobook: 7 hours and 51 minutes
Narrator:   Louis Gossett
Again, I have found myself reading and listening to a book to help me get through it faster.  I have to say, I found myself listening more than reading on this one.  The audiobook is narrated by Louis Gossett Jr. a wonderful actor and now a great narrator.  He did a marvelous job.  The book is written in a more formal English and as I was listening to his voice read, he made it seem like poetry at times. 

Reviews by Other Bloggers

I recommend this book teenage readers and older due to brutality.

This book is number 43 in my Goodreads Challenge
This book is number 26 in my Audiobook Challenge
Mocha Girls Read Book of the Month

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