Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave - Solomon Northup, David Wilson, N. Orr I am afraid that I am guilty this time around of watching the movie before reading the book.

Twelve Years a Slave is Solomon Northup’s story of how he was kidnapped, drugged, beaten and sold off as a slave. It is a detailed account of 12 years of his life that he spent as a slave. The brutalities that he had to endure, the psychological torture that it was and the stories of the people who touched his life in one way or the other. He not only narrates his own story, but through knowing him and his life we learn more about other slaves, slave catchers, the general conditions of a slave and also the relationship between the master and a slave.

I wish that this was a piece of fiction so that I could just say that it was brilliantly ‘plotted’ and skillfully narrated and move on.

But that is not the case… this isn’t just some fiction but the dark facts of humanity. When we hear about slaves, we pity them thinking that they had a hard and difficult life. But to hear the first hand account of that life breaks your heart so badly. It was so difficult to imagine that a person had to live a life like that and then go back to our own comfortable lives. His trials and tribulations over those years are bound to touch a person in the most deepest ways - to be beaten physically in an inhuman manner may still be bearable, but the psychological torture that it was and the effect it can have on a person is so immense.

Solomon Northup’s life will touch everyone who reads this book and maybe even influence the readers to treat others better. And while the film deserved the Oscars, it is not even close to the book’s emotional dynamite!