Book Review: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written By Herself (Jacobs, Harriet Ann)

With most of the things I intended to do this summer not working out, I decided to start reading books (something I always complain I never have enough time to do). I picked this book from my reading list for next semester for my women’s history class and I have to say it was an enjoyable read.

Book Cover

The book was written by Harriet Ann Jacobs (February 11, 1813 – March 7, 1897) under the alias Linda Brent. She gives an account of her innocent childhood where she lived happily and how her life changed when she understood what slavery was. I am tempted to say that some of the accounts were a bit ‘watered down’ but considering the sensitivity of society in the time it was published (1861), I would say that Jacobs writing style is tactful and considerate. Although she doesn’t hide her contempt for her main antagonist, “Dr. Flint”, she doesn’t write about his actions enough to make the reader think that he is the devil himself. Jacobs’ account highlights the flaws of the system rather than those of people; I think that this shows the strength of the book and the writer’s as well. This might either be a result of her strong christian faith (a type of hate the sin and not the sinner attitude) or just her personality, but true to her intentions, Jacobs lets the reader understand why the system is horrible and how it affects both the slaves and the slaveholders. It must have taken a lot of strength and forgiveness to write with such tact and in her grave I have to commend her grace.

I won’t give stars because I’m not a professional but will I recommend this read? YES! It’s simple to read and very enlightening. When you take a break while reading it, you’ll keep thinking about what next will happen. Her way with words are both brilliant and easy. If you want to pick up a book, this is one I recommend.

Bounty for Jacobs




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