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Editorial Reviews

Literate Harriet Jacobs escaped from slavery after many tries, finally freeing herself of a cruel, sexually abusive master. Jacobs survived to write and expose the horrors of life in slavery. Her autobiography substantiates the abuse endured by female slaves. Jacobs writes about her past with an almost academic detachment. Having survived she evolves into a historian, bent on accurately recording the damning truth for the purpose of social indictment. Narrator Jean Barrett’s calm conversational tone matches Jacobs’ understated language. Just like Jacobs, Barrett sounds educated and self-possessed. There is subdued passion in her voice, but no hysteria. Barrett’s precise speech and ironically polite oration underscores the miserable details of what Jacobs endured and triumphed over.

Publisher's Summary

One of the first personal narratives written by an ex-slave, this is also one of the few written by a woman. Harriet Jacobs (1813-97) was enslaved, along with her family, in North Carolina under a ruthless master who sexually harassed her. After several failed escape attempts, and several years of hiding, she finally made her way North to freedom, where she was eventually reunited with her children. The book was published in 1861.

Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"One of the major autobiographies of the African American tradition." (Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)
"Harriet Jacobs in her narrative reveals how she refused to be victimized within her own mind, but rather chose to act instead from a steadfast conviction of her own worth.... Hers is an example worth emulating even in these modern times." (Louise Meriwether)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Incredible Journey

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I would recommend this book in audio format. No matter where I am, my place in the book is always kept for me.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved Harriet and her voice. She says the words that she was thinking. Her pain is evidenced when she faces challenges thrust upon her family by the evil doctor.

Which scene was your favorite?

The part where she hid under the stairs or crawlspace knowing she cold not let her family know where she was---for that action would place them in danger.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me somber in reflecting the true journey of American slaves.

Any additional comments?

This book was especially wonderful to read in February, Black History Month. Now I will read another true story called "12 Years a Slave". A real appreciation for the history of African American brothers and sisters whose stories were silenced but now are loud and proud. A story that needs to be told and lessons to be learned.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Alexis
  • DALLAS, TX, United States
  • 12-11-13

A precious perspective

What made the experience of listening to Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself the most enjoyable?

This first-person perspective had me using the dictionary feature on the Kindle several times. Very eloquent and honest. I'm glad this story was recorded so we can all enjoy it for decades to come.

What about Jean Barrett’s performance did you like?

Barrett's narration brings the story to life in a way that makes you want to give Harriet Jacobs a hug afterward!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I couldn't pull myself away. I normally don't listen to Audible during the weekend, but this story didn't let me go!

Any additional comments?

Add this story to your list. Jacobs attitude isn't about racism, it's about how we can fight to make this world a better place for our children. She speaks of how different the people around her would be without "the demon of Slavery" rather than judge others. What an example.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Truly Amazing

I loved it and the story moved me. What can I say but the truth in this story...an ugly American truth! Narrator was easy to listen to and made the story come alive!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional

This book exceeded my expectations. Not only did the author live a fantastic life , but she retold it well. I highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • d
  • 01-13-15

Must read

It takes a while for the plot to rev up - the book circles n on slavery first with w wide lens and then with a microscope, but it is well-written and worth your time. I read it in 1.25 speed and really enjoyed. It is a noble story of a determined mother and individual who manages to outwit and hold onto dignity in unbelievable circumstances. A good woman is indeed "more precious than rubies" for her family. The story includes many examples of how deeply one human life or act of kindness- or, on the flip side, misery or debauchery -matters. It is so important to stand up for what is right and to live ones fellowman. The book is still relevant today, and I wish I had read it before. Truly great. I had read and exert n an anthology before, but it didn't make sense out of context and didn't do it justice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A tale of survival against all odds

The utter despair of not having control of ones life or this of ones loved ones and the struggle to live a life with dignity as others see you as subhuman comes through loud and clear in this work. It is also a testament of what a person can endure when the stakes are high enough. The peculiar institution that the slavery apologists tried to paint a rosy color on by saying the slaves were happy to be controlled and taken care of his dismantled as the feeble stack of cards it is.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

This is a sliding glass door into slavery.And

I never wanted to turn this off.It explained and captivated me right off.Not a bored second throughout the whole book.I surely felt the yoke of slavery as the story progerssed.Slavery is pure evil.

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Amazing Book

I was so taken in by this book. Everyone should read this and feel it.

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Captivating

Very interesting being from the slave woman herself. Very pleasant voice of the narrator. Easy listening.

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Thankful to hear it. Articulate.

I find myself wishing freedom, peace and dignity for all, yet here in America, still so much discrimination. So much political manipulation and rhetoric. I hope many become informed and soften in their hearts for the humanity in each of us, even if upbringing and education have led so many off the path of peace. It is touching to know that many good people stood up to the deplorable laws.