This autobiography was one of the most difficult books I have ever read. Penned by a lady who suffered the true struggles of slavery, it paints a heartbreaking picture of the cruelty inflicted upon slaves in the 1800s.

Jacobs writes an honest, open narrative, detailing her struggle for freedom and unbelievable sacrifices she had to make in her efforts to obtain it. The book details the despicable acts carried out by so-called ‘slave owners’, which makes for harrowing reading. Jacobs does not shy away from describing the cruelty of slavery in great detail, but I feel this was important, especially considering the period in which this autobiography was written. History can sometimes gloss over the darker side of humanity’s past, but this real-life account shows the true horrors of the time in a way that is moving and unforgettable.

Despite the harrowing truths in Jacobs’ story, there are glimmers of hope that demonstrate the true power of a strong, loving family. Jacobs’ grandmother, as well as Jacobs herself, are characters with true inner strength who never cease to love and care for those around them. Their strength of character and the bond they share with their family are inspirational, particularly in the face of unimaginable suffering and prejudice.

This book is not easy to read; it is a real-life perspective of one of the darkest periods in history. I do believe, however, that it is an essential read. Moving, powerful and unforgettable.