12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave – Solomon Northup

I got this book because I was wandering about the library looking for something a little different. I knew this was a movie but I didn’t realise it had been adapted from a book.

The book is the account of a free man Solomon Northup who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He had his papers stating his free status (this is set in the 1850s when slavery was still legal in the US) torn up and beaten for trying to tell people he was free. The story then follows his journey as he’s taken far from his home and sold from property to property. It’s not until he reaches a farm and finds a white man who is anti slavery he can confide in that he can share his story and ultimatly be free.

Some of this story is pretty brutal. From the accounts of the way people are bought and sold to the horrific treatment of the slaves. It’s also eye opening that he had to keep his status as a free man quiet until he could find someone willing to help him regain his freedom. Absolutly no one wanted to help or listen to him. I cannot even begin to imagine what that is like so for me it was a total learning experience. I can think though if you’re a person of colour the book could be distressing as hell.

It’s well worth the read.

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