Book: Twelve years a slave
Author: Solomon Northup
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Price: Rs. 599
Plot: Solomon Northup, born in 1808 in Minerva, New York. Born a freeman, he was a musician, a husband, father of three of children when one day he was forced into slavery. In 1841, he was lured to Washington D.C with the promise of fast money, where he was drugged, beaten and was sold.
For twelve years, forced to do things which he never wanted to and was beaten if he said no, for twelve long years he was not respected as a human. A free man who was asked to do things out of his desires, a free man who was asked to live as a slave.
The author has not only narrated his story, but also the story of other slaves whom he met during these twelve years. And the incidences are as sad as his. Northup narrated an incident of a woman who was parted from his children, of a young girl who was facing the agony of her master’s wife because her master was attracted towards her, an incident of a man who died with the desire to be free and meet his family again. All the incidences which will make one think about how we as humans have forgotten to respect other beings.
Northup wrote this memoir when he got freed from slavery, how he managed to get free, you have to read the book for that.
My views: The book will hit you hard with the reality of the world. I was so unaware of the fact that slavery once was legal in America. And the thought that people were forced to live their lives as their masters wanted to, gave me goosebumps.
I loved the beginning of the book, the words have truly represented the pain which Northup must have felt when he was being drugged and was sold into slavery. The uncertainty of his future, an unexpected parting from his family, his fear of not being able to meet his family ever again, the narration depicted it all.
Though it got slow in the middle, how Northup managed to get himself free from slavery is what kept me engaging.
The book was an altogether a different experience for me as I have never read about slavery earlier.
Overall I enjoyed reading the book, but I would also say that it got slow and little boring for me in the middle.
Recommendations: Read this book to know more about slavery, and that too from a dual perspective as Northup has lived his life as both a free man and a slave.
And to my friends who are interested in watching movies can also watch an Academy Award-winning movie based on the book.
And if you are interested in reading classics, you can read one of my book reviews of the classic, The Great Gatsby here.3 Likes