Book Review, Classic Literature, Fiction, Historical Fiction

Book Review: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.0

Author: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Genre: Classic Literature/Historical Fiction

About: Allegedly credited by Abraham Lincoln as the book that started the Civil War, Uncle Tom’s Cabin sold 300,000 copies in its first year. Stowe, a graduate of a female seminary, weaves together two themes, both of which were very necessary in that time (and one of them can be applied to modern days as well). First, she was exposing the hideousness of slavery. Second, she was writing this as a sort of testament to the power and sufficiency of God. Uncle Tom is a character that feels very real and has the power to drastically influence your life if you let him.

Likes: This book was, as classics go, fairly easy to read. I thought that the characters in it felt extremely real—this is due to the fact that many of them are based on real people and circumstances. The setting was strong and the plot, though it had some shortcomings, was for the most part well done. The characters are the strongest part of the novel, though, with a cast of over twenty support and main characters making lengthy appearances in the novel. Another fine aspect of this was the philosophical part, in which the philosophy behind slavery is discussed and debated. The historical aspect of the novel is also neat; it is really astounding to be holding in one’s hands the book breathed life into the flame that became the Civil War. If for nothing else, read this book to understand how history is (and was) changed.

Dislikes: Classics will be classics. If you read this blog frequently, you will know that I enjoy a good classic. In fact, most of the well-known pieces of classic literature are ones that I have either read or am planning to read in the near future. However, even for a classic this was a bit long. It did not drag too much, which is something, but the length of it is still something to consider. The plot, though alright in general, was kind of sporadic and all over the place. Main characters came into the story late, one plot line was dropped for about 70% of the story and picked up at the end, and overall it was not the most well thought out plot. Obviously we understand that the reasons for this was that it was not meant to be just another nice story. However, I still think the plot could have been much better. The content of the book is a bit dark, which is why I have put the suggested age a bit higher than may be expected. Horrible things are done to slaves and even worse things are discussed as having been done in the past. Two young slave girls are acquired by a disgustingly evil slave owner and though it is not explicit, his purpose for them is implied. These are dark times being addressed by Stowe. I still recommend this read, but not until one has attained a mature enough age, which is up to the reader’s discretion (or the parent’s).

Summary: Uncle Tom is a pious slave living with his family at the residence of benevolent slave owners. When hard times hit and Tom’s master falls into debt, Tom is sold off the estate into the hands of a greedy slave-trader. On their way to New Orleans, Tom is discovered by a young child who persuades her father to buy Tom. Due to ensuing unfortunate circumstances, Tom is later sold to a hard master who is determined to beat the piety out of poor Tom. The battle is between a heathen slave owner and the sufficiency of God to uphold Tom in the bleak situation.

Book Length: 515 pages (B&N Classics Edition)

Favorite Character: Cassy

Suggested Age: 14+

Plot- 1.2 out of 2.0
Characters- 1.8 out of 2.0
Setting- 1.9 out of 2.0
Unfavorable content/other- 0.6 out of 1.0
Themes- 1.0 out of 1.0
Dialogue- 0.9 out of 1.0
Quality of writing 0.6 out of 1.0

= 7.5 out of 10.0

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