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The Bondwoman's Narrative

A Novel

by Hannah Crafts, Henry Louis Gates

The Bondwoman's Narrative
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2002, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2003, 416 pages

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Bettina (11/09/04)

This book is an excellent addition to the literary contributions of African-American writers in that it possesses a growing insight of the mind of an American female slave. You must read in between the lines in order to discover that many of the issues raised within the novel pertain to the state of African Americans today. I think that it is a novel that combines both historical facts as well as metaphorical additions that lend the reader to a better comprehension of the message Hannah Crafts was trying to send. It is not a book one should read casually, it should be studied, broken down and tediously looked over because there are so many messages within the novel. I have studied it at the college level and have found it to be both educational and personally stimulating. Perhaps the misspellings and grammatical errors may be a set back to some but the extensive knowledge the author had as far as words to which I myself did not know the meanings to are not only inspiring but are also motivational; considering that research has shown the author to be self taught. It is stirring evidence of the power of the human mind and the strength of the human spirit and is important for all generations to study and grow from.
Brooke Young (06/16/04)

I had the oportunity to see Dr. Gates speak at my university about this book. His brilliance and excitement for it prompted me to purchase the book (and add it to my hugs list of books I want to read for quite some time). However, this summer I am taking a class on African-American history and had to choose 2 books to review for outside reading projects. I chose this one, and I was not disappointed. The introduction is a bit boring (Dr. Gates writes about how he acquired and authenticated the narrative) and long, but the actual novel itself I thought was quite good. As you read, you will noticed how educated this fugitive slave is. At the end of the book is a comparison between Craft's writing and the writings of other authors of her day and before. I didn't notice how similar they were until I read this appendix. Despite the fact that she "borrowed" quite a few things from other books (almost exactly), the novel was a very enjoyable one and I would recommend it to anyone interested in slavery. I will say though, that if I hadn't been taking this class, I probably would have missed a lot of what Craft was talking about. So, if you don't have any background knowledge at all, you might want to either get some, or start with something else.
nathan harr (11/03/02)

This was a very exciting and wonderful book. I believe everyone should read it!
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