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Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs
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Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  385 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery; it's the only life she has ever known. Now, with the death of her mistress, there is a chance she will be given her freedom, and for the first time, Harriet feels hopeful. But hoping can be dangerous, because disapointment is devastating. Harriet has one last hope, though: escape north. And as she faces numerous ordeals, this hope give ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 1st 1992 by Atheneum Books (first published 1992)
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Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! As I turned every page I could not help but feel as if I was living life beside this Slave Girl in the 1830's. The author of this book took me deep into the life of young girl name Harriet Jacob, where I did not experience her life from the outside, but from her personal place where all her thoughts and true feelings were hidden...her diary, letters to her loved ones.

The reality and the rawness of Harriet Jacobs' story is what makes this book so captivating. I experienced each event with H
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I chose this book from the library simply because I thought I was in a rut. I've been reading a string of fantasy and science fiction books and I needed something new. If I'm going to tell my students to branch out, I ought to also.

The content of Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs is very mature. It talks about how her master sought to use her sexually with her consent while another older white man was given her favors while she was in her teens. Some of my middle school stud
Millie Taylor
Nov 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I snagged this book from my daughter's school during their end of year book giveaway. After reading some hard sci-fi, I needed something a bit easier and this filled the bill quite nicely. The time period (1825-1897) is one of my favorite times to read about in American history, though the things that happened were horrifying, to say the least.

Harriet's story was one of hardship, love, and tears. You could feel the pain she felt when one of her loved ones died or was sold to a new master, along
Nadja Carrington
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Book " Letters from a Slave Girl: The Story of Harriet Jacobs" was about a girl of African American Descent named Harriet Ann. Harriet Ann was born into slavery but did not know until her adolescent years. When Harriet's mother had died her owner had promised Harriet's father freedom if he could pay for it. He father began saving up meanwhile Mrs. Margaret was getting ill. While on her death bed she was helping Harriet learn to read and write. Harriet had dreams to make it to the North with ...more
Young Jin
I read this book because it was a school assignment, and it was a good book for readers to sleep at night.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I would recommend this to students grades 6 and up who enjoy biographies and American history and especially want to learn more about the impact of slavery on young women and their families.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful, heartbreaking and hopeful. Four stars.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting book. It was hard to read at times, but that's true of most books about slavery. I'm now very interested in the real book written by the real life main character of this one.
This book showed the hard slave life very interestingly- through letters it shows a life of a girl, a woman and a mother- Harriet Jacobs. When her kind mistress dies when she is 12 years old, she is left at the mercy of her cruel new master, who is very abusive to her, like her father, she can't take the struggle of daily slavery life anymore. She than falls in love with a man she calls R throughout the book, afraid that someone will find it. She asks the Doctor's (her master's) approval to marr ...more
Komugi Madara
This book is about this girl called Harriet Jacobs, the slave girl. She lost her mother when she was young, but she writes letters to her dead mother about her life in America. It starts with how the person who was treating Harriet like a real daughter dies. She writes her mother about the funeral, and how dad told her to be strong. Then the story begins. She tells her mom how much she wants to go back to Africa, how much she wants to see her mother, how tough it is to work there, and how there ...more
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fictionalized version of a real-life runaway slave story.

Mary E. Lyons' book is a fictionalized account of the true story of Harriet Jacobs, a slave girl from North Carolina who escaped and hid in her grandmother's attic for seven years, beginning in 1835, before making her way north to freedom.

Lyons chose to use a fictional diary format to tell the story of Harriet Jacobs. In real life Jacobs could read and write and actually published a book about her life in 1861 called Incidents in the
Keaton AXtell
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Letters from a Slave Girl is about a young girl and her childhood life as a slave in a Southern community, and her struggles that she had with gender and racial discrimination at the time. The book utilizes the form of journals as its organization, as each passage is a separate journal. This adds to the books effectiveness at relaying its points, as it is also written in the current vernacular as well. The perspective in which the book is written also adds to the effect that the book has on the ...more
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is a powerful look into slavery using incidents in the life of a real woman, Harriet Jacobs. There is another book "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," which is by Harriet Jacobs. A friend said that reading the "Letters" first would make "Incidents" a little easier to read. Mary Lyons has done a good job of using powerful scenes from Jacobs' life in a way that young readers could understand. It made me think about what a trap slavery was for white men and women--leading them to do all s ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harriet Jacobs has an amazing story. I learned about her life during the African American Cultural Celebration in Raleigh, and was pleasantly surprised to find this book in our library collection. It was in the Juvenile section, and I'm moving it to YA - there are situations in this book that make it unsuitable for young children.

I wish the author had continued the theme of the book throughout the text. The last section is narrated in a more textual fashion, but would have been much more effect
Ever wondered what it was like to live as a slave girl? Do you struggle with ordeals in your life and think that no one could possible understand? Mary E. Lyons takes Harriet Jacob's book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and transforms her accounts into letters to lost relatives and friends. The letters are intriguing because they give accounts of Harriet's struggles as a slave girl. She writes about her unfulfilling promises, lost love, her children. The letters also give a biography. It ...more
Esmeralda Luz Hernandez
I like that in this book, they are real letters. Some authors come up with fake letters and sometimes, they have wrong about this event in America. Also, I like how this is from a girl. I am not being sexist, I am just saying that not many people know that girls are really the ones that had it the worst during slavery. Not just about the work because men and women work equally but with taking care of their children and their master's children. Also, most slave women and girls got raped and sexua ...more
Letters from a Slave Girl is based on the life and letters of Harriet Jacobs who was born into slavery in Edenton, NC. Harriet's tale is one of unfailing hope, faith and courage in the pursuit of the most precious of human rights, freedom. This book made my heart soar at times and at others it made me angry to think that any human could think they had the right to own another. I loved this book with it's raw and honest portrait of slavery and the lives and families it destroyed.
Read this back in middle school.
This book is based on the true actual letters or Harriet Jacobs but these are not the actual collection of the letters. The book is written in letter form but it is only based on the true story. I had a really hard time following this book and coming to the understanding of the olden time language that was spoken by this young slave girl. The storyline is very emotional and will leave you looking for a box of tissues.
Yoon Jin-  ISB
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is heart-wrenching story about an African slave girl in NC. It was really interesting to read about the unfair treatments that slaves had to face during back time. The most interesting but also, sad part was when she couldn’t meet her children for many years by hiding from polices. This book gives readers how did a slave girl felt about the events she had faced. Historian who wants to figure out about the perspectives that slaves had during back time, this book is waiting for you.
Aug 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another heart-wrenching true story of a girl that escaped slavery and all that it cost her to do so. This story took place in Edenton, NC which is my husbands home town. It was really interesting to read about slave life in a city that is quite familiar. At the same time it made me very ashamed of this part of US history.
Hendrix Eva
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful dedication: " To all women everywhere who seek to escape their oppression."

A harrowing and incredible tale of one woman's war against the insane and terrifying obsession with which her slave owners and countless other whites pursue the infinite evils of slavery.


"I don't want to hear the preacher talk anymore bout hell, because I already been there."
Interesting read. I enjoyed it. Still trying to figure out what was true and what wasn't, but overall it was still a good read to help one see how scary it might have been for a slave in hiding.

Read for YA lit. class. Review: Poignant story based on the true experiences of Harriet Jacobs, who hid for years in hopes of escaping. The epistolary format brings a personal touch.
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book 2 stars because it was kind of boring, and I didn’t really like it. It was a biography, and it explained how Harriet Jacobs escaped from slavery. Usually I’m interesting in books about this subject, but I thought this one was kind of boring. But it was very descriptive, and made you think about how horrible it would have been to be in her position.
Apr 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It was a good reminder of the often untold story of what enslaved women experience and a new side for me. However, this wasn't written that well, the biographer could have made it more interesting and less rote. It was quick and easy to read, which was good.
I liked the history of this stroy and it helps you understand how horribal slavery really was and what they went through. But story wise it was boaring. I could have just read a page out of a text book and gotten the same information and feelings about her situations that I got from reading this.
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-books
Well done. Fictionalized series of letters to family members from Harriet Jacobs. It appears to be very well researched.
Shelby :p
Apr 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book brrought tears to my eyes
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Mary E. Lyons, a former teacher and librarian, became a full-time writer in 1993. She is the author of nineteen books for young readers published by Scribner, Atheneum, Henry Holt, Houghton Mifflin and Oxford University Press.

Born and raised in the American South, Mary Lyons lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, Paul. Her publications for adults include The Blue Ridge Tunnel: A Re
More about Mary E. Lyons...

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