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Publisher's Summary

Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography, written under the pseudonym Linda Brent, details her experiences as a slave in North Carolina, her escape to freedom in the north, and her ensuing struggles to free her children. The narrative was partly serialized in the New York Tribune, but was discontinued because Jacobs’ depictions of the sexual abuse of female slaves were considered too shocking. It was published in book form in 1861.

©1861 Public Domain (P)2012 Cherry Hill Publishing

Critic Reviews

"In such volumes as this, the true romance of American life and history is to be found. Patient suffering, heroic daring, untiring zeal, perseverance seemingly unparalleled, and growth from surroundings of degradation and ignorance to education, refinement, and power: all find in these modest pages their simple, yet affecting narrative. It is the "oft told tale" of American slavery, in another and more revolting phase than that which is generally seen. More revolting because it is of the spirit and not the flesh. In this volume, a woman tells in words of fire, yet never overstepping the bounds of the truest purity, not, how she was scourged and maimed, but that far more terrible sufferings endured by and inflicted upon woman, by a system which legalizes concubinage, and offers a premium to licentiousness. No one can read these pages without a feeling of horror, and a stronger determination arising in them to tear down the cursed system which makes such records possible. Wrath, the fiery messenger which goes flaming from the roused soul and overthrows in its divine fury the accursed tyrannies of earth; will find in these pages new fuel for the fire, and new force for the storm which shall overthrow and sweep from existence American slavery." (Weekly Anglo-African, New York, N.Y., 13 April 1861)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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The story redeems the narration

Harriet Jacobs first hand account of her life as a slave is unforgettable. She showed a tremendous amount of courage and refused to be "broken in" by her oppressors. With remarkable determination she fights for her and children's freedom.

My only complaint is the narration. The forced southern drawl made me sick. The delects were all over the place. One moment she made the main character sound like a proper English lady, then she sounded like a white southerner. The other slaves sounded like they were from the islands and so on. Once I overcame the nauseating sound of her voice, I was able to focus on the story. I would definitely recommend it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Shakayla
  • Dade City, FL, United States
  • 03-31-13

Great book!

If you could sum up Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in three words, what would they be?

Interesting, insightful, disturbing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl?

When the narrator describes the slave woman who is tied up by her thumbs and whipped to death.

Have you listened to any of Audio Élan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I haven't. I didn't find her narration very interesting. It actually hurt the story rather than helped it. Eventually I finished the audio book but not without a struggle as I found her voice to be very annoying.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The entire book moved me.

Any additional comments?

Great read! Wish the narrator was different. But I loved the story nonetheless.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great book, bad narration

If you could sum up Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in three words, what would they be?

Genuine insight slavery

What did you like best about this story?

It was a genuine, articulate voice from a portion of our past that is not well-documented otherwise.

How could the performance have been better?

The performance is a caricature of a southern accent. Very distracting. The reader should have simply read in their own voice, instead of attempting a southern accent. Or better yet, get someone who is familiar with the accent that the author, Harriet Jacobs, would have used. For example, Sissy Spacek's reading of To Kill A Mockingbird was done with a genuine southern accent that fit the story perfectly, and added to its impact.<br/><br/>The bad accent isn't even consistent. How did the publisher allow her to read it?

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The book title is fine.

Any additional comments?

While the book purports to be the voice of Harriet Jacobs, some passages show the hand of a preachy editor. Though glaring, they are infrequent and do not detract from the story.<br/><br/>Another way to express this is that when the author writes, she takes ownership of the story. When the editor steps in to "preach", the ownership vanishes.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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amazing history

I found out about this book via a fb post, so I was going to purchase it but found the audible version....it was awesome, as a 30 plus mom, wife, and grad student it spoke to my life as a black woman....phenomenal

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Casey
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 08-24-13

Awful accent!

What disappointed you about Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl?

I couldn't bare the performer's accent. She didn't seem to know of she was trying to British or southern.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I have no idea. I am returning this title for another version of the book with a different narrator.

Would you be willing to try another one of Audio Élan’s performances?

No

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Hard to understand accent

I purchased this audiobook as part of an assignment for my history class at a university. I had trouble understanding the accent of the narrator but really enjoyed the story. It evoked a sobering feeling that humbled me to further reflect on the hardships, injustice, and barbaric nature of the institution of slavery. I highly recommend this audiobook as a means to view a dark era of American history through the lens of the oppressed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Powerful Testimony

I happened across this book at the Birmingham African American Museum in 2015. I read the book in a matter of weeks. However, listening to this book on audio was much more powerful. This story will always stay with me as an African American woman.

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Absolutely amazing

If you can read this and not feel the full range of the author's emotions, something is wrong with you. She is brutally honest and open about her experiences and beautifully paints the picture of her tragic life and the monstrosity that was the American society. It's eye opening and terrible yet impossible to stop listening to.

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Chilling truths of the horrors of slavery.

I feel it is most important to know our history and have read numerous accounts of slavery in America to educate myself on what really happened. This story reveals the incredible love of a mother for her children and brings to light the importance of trustworthy family and friends in the quest for freedom. Prepare to be touched to the core by this woman's story of love, hurt, and ultimately, freedom.

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Difficult to listen to.

This story is very difficult to listen to. Both because the content is disturbing and because it sounds like propaganda much in the same vein as "Uncle Tom's Cabin". It is simply to preachy to be taken at face value. I think a much more accurate depiction of the abomination that is slavery is, "Twelve Years a Slave" by Soloman Northrop.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-26-15

tear jerking. words cannot describe

merely a century. and some ago.unbelievable to think this was how life was expectedly existed

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Annie
  • 04-07-16

An Insightful Account Of A Cruel Way Of Life.

This book was excellent and well read, I learnt lots here that I had not known.
Told in an interesting, yet informative way. If you have any interest about the lives of slaves, try it.