Katie
Katie asked:

Is this book too graphic for a 14 year old?

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Ryan M The way the story is written, I would say no this book is not to graphic for a 14yr old. Especially in light of the day and age we live where violence in media is the main stream. I find video games and cartoons to be more violent than this book, because they are violence without meaning or a message to go behind them.

The message of the book, is a true story depicting a very dark side to American history, for a young adult reader (anyone in their teens) it is not a book to be read alone, it needs discussion and reflection.

I found the story to be inspiring, filled with hope, faith, and resilience against great odd's and a unique view of slavery in America during the victorian era.

If you have any doubts as to whether or not your 14yr should read the book, you should read it first and decide for yourself it is acceptable for your family as it does deal with some heavy issues.
Vicki Farthing It depends on the 14 year old. My daughter was born middle aged so at 14 would of struggled a bit due to the the way it's written but it would of been ok for her. Some of her friends wouldn't of been able to read it and it would of been too much for them.

Personally I think it should be read in school, along with Of Mice and Men which they've removed from the curriculum. It opens up the discussions of slavery, American history and varying cultures. As well as moral issues.

So in short, depends on the child and maybe in a setting that they can talk to others!
Melissa Cassel This book is an excellent read. I would recommend it to anyone.
Rèñjh Nah!! Today's 14 years olds see more graphic in their games and modern movies than this book.
Joe Keefhaver I think it is suitable for a 14 year old, and I think 14 year olds SHOULD read it.
Warreni No. If the teen in question is comfortable with the frequent use of the word "nigger" in the narrative as it was a part of the common parlance of the day, that's the most potentially offensive or upsetting item to be found in terms of language. All curse words are listed like this: "d____d" for damned. As far as the story content is concerned, there are discussions of what are tantamount to torture where the author describes how he spent over a day waiting in the summer sun tightly bound and with a noose around his neck as well as the more routine vicious beatings and whippings that were doled out to slaves on plantations. There is no discussion of any kind of sexual violence.
Landey Gu Anyone beyond twelve should be oaky with this book. It is only the matter of whether the kid can fully understand or not.
Leigh Johnson Yes, too graphic. Even for some adults.
Jayne Cravens I think this is an excellent choice for a 14-year-old to read. In fact, I have a feeling the interviewer/editor left out many of the horrors this man experienced and witnessed, fearing the book being branded as obscene for the time (sexual violence was rampant against enslaved people, yet it's never mentioned). The dignity and humanity and moments of defiance that Solomon Northup is able to hold on in such a horrible experience is a good lesson for a 14-year-old - and everyone, in fact. The N-word is used frequently, and that can be jarring, but I think it's good to see that it has ALWAYS been used as a word by whites to demean black Americans. This is the first in-depth narrative by an American enslaved person I've ever read, and I'm stunned at how readable it is.
Kara Growing up this book was on many schools reading lists for classes in middle school I believe. Amazon has it as "Age Range: 9 - 12 years Grade Level: 4 - 6". That will be the comprehensive level it is written at.
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