“Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” by Frederick Douglass
(Hi! It’s been a while, I know. I’ve been around, enjoying the last days of summer. I’ve also been reading – but not books from my list. Recently, on a trip to my hometown, my Mom and I stopped in a used bookstore that we love – the only one in my hometown, mind you – and I got two amazing books, “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” and “Middlesex.” Both of these books are awesome and I devoured them. I also got Zadie Smith’s “On Beauty” and didn’t like it – so I donated it. Just sharing, so you know what’s up.)
I’m pretty sure every high school student in America reads “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,” so I’m not sure how I missed it, but better late than never, right? I picked up my Dover Thrift Edition a few years ago, and it’s been on my bookcase ever since. Admittedly, I picked it up the other night because it’s short – only about 70 pages – and I wanted to get back into the swing of things. To my surprise, it’s a completely engrossing read and I finished it in one sitting.
As the title explains pretty darn clearly, Mr. Douglass lays out the story of his life from being born a slave to becoming a free man and fighting against slavery. He talks about the cruelty of his masters and the facts of being a slave – you will go hungry, you will get beaten, and you can be traded away for any and every reason, never to see your family again. Mr. Douglass rose up, found a way to learn to read and write, and stood up to his master and gained his freedom. It’s brutal to read at times, but inspiring.
I’d recommend this interesting and fast read to everyone – especially young people. It’s an uncomplicated look at a darker time in American History, and one we should learn from even today.