"Twelve Years A Slave" is a powerful narrative in and of itself, telling the story of Solomon Northup, a black man born free yet kidnapped and sold into slavery for twelve years before being rescued. The narrative provides a unique perspective on slavery, being told from the slave himself instead of an outsider looking in. Solomon's view is not sugar-coated, but neither is it harsh when it does not need to be. Louis Gossett, Jr.'s voice brings a humanness to Solomon, and in doing so brings him to life. While listening to Gossett's extraordinary delivery, one hears the emotions Solomon felt throughout the narrative - the disillusionment upon being kidnapped, the hope of one day escaping, the hopelessness of that same possibility, the realization that not all slave owners were beasts, the horror at the actions of other slave owners, just to name a few. I found that multiple times during the course of listening to Gossett reading the narrative of Solomon Northup, I would almost forget it was not Northup himself recounting his experiences. Gossett is so effective in this regard that I felt myself experiencing the emotions along with Solomon. This rare perspective offers a glimpse into slavery that many people cannot fathom. At the end, I felt I knew Solomon Northup so well that I celebrated along with him at his long overdue freedom.
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