“12 Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup, Book Review by Dorian Quivers


In “12 Years a Slave” Solomon Northup starts as a free man. He is a family man, carpenter, and musician. Northup explains that he constantly has to look for new work opportunities from season to season. One day he meets two men in the circus business who offer him a position playing music. They offered to pay him very well so Solomon accepted. On a trip to New York Solomon is drugged and taken into captivity.Northup explains that he did not see exactly who did this to him but he was sure that the two men had everything to do on it.

On the slave ship he was transported on, he was able to talk to one of the crew members into sending his family one last letter before he went into captivity. The book then explains Solomon’s next 12 years in slavery. During these years he moved between many owners and experienced many hardships. Finally, Solomon is freed by an attorney by the name of Henry Northup, who had also freed Solomon’s father. Northup is then reunited with his family. I believe the central idea of this book is to always keep faith and to stay strong through adversity. Through everything they endured, Solomon and his family held on and in the end they succeeded.

I enjoyed reading this book because it made me see how hard life was for some of my ancestors. It made me appreciative toward things that I may have taken for granted before. For example, my family, freedom, rights, and education are all things that these people did not have. In my opinion, this was a very powerful narrative because it is only one story about the many fights and struggles that African-Americans endured to ensure our rights. It is a truly beautiful thing the Solomon was able to reunite with his family and share his story with the world. Reading “12 Years a Slave” makes me very thankful for the brave people who came before me.

I would recommend this book to anyone of my age group because I feel that many of our young people are not educated about their history. I would especially recommend this book to the African-American youth because this book tells the story of their ancestors. I feel that other students would be interested because this is an amazing story written by the man who actually experienced this. I deeply enjoyed reading this book and I feel that my peers would benefit from it as well.


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A blog for sharing student media at Chattanooga State Community College. View all posts by csm3dia

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