This is an important book that should be required reading (at least excerpts from it) in every high school American history class. It's engaging, straightforward, and puts the lie to any claims that horrors of slavery are exaggerated, or were extremely rare.
That makes the book sound like a downer. For this short-attention-spanned American, it was also an interesting read, with suspense, good characters, and lots of plot.
This book makes me want to learn more about Harriet Jacobs, and the people in her life. It's interesting that, forward-thinking as she is, a couple of times in the narrative she makes sure to tell the reader that some bad person in New York was Irish. On the other hand, it's fascinating that her brother got himself a good apprentice-type trade situation until they learned he was black - her family was so light-skinned that they didn't know to hate him until they found out he was black. But then they did.
And the father of her children (real name Samuel Sawyer) was a US Rep - man, I'd like to learn about him.