Scathing Book Reviews of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is a book that in the 20th and 21st century is more “heard of” than read, or even seen onscreen in movie form. Practically every history of the Civil War makes reference to it, and every American history class includes it as a test question. Boiled down, it makes the argument that “slavery is bad”. Unfortunately, being on the right side of a moral argument doesn’t guarantee great writing:

…this book is so sugary it made my teeth itch. It should be read and reviled.

…and:

Slavery was ugly. We need to know that. But not the way Stowe writes, I felt like I couldn’t bear another page. Unbelievably flat characters in an unbelievably flat setting.

…and:

i know she was against slavery but her depiction of black people is simply unbearable. oh god

…and:

Well, reading it all in one weekend may not have been the brightest move of my life. Still, this book was a hideous experience. Once you get past the first hundred and fifty pages the plot picks up enough to give the sheer boredom a minor respite, but the characters are about as flat as anything imaginable. Little Eva in particular I was ready to strangle, with hair or without, by the time she up and died.

..and this review, which uses Dickens as a benchmark:

… the book has its ups and downs, but it is still not as bad as a Charles Dickens novel.

One Response

  1. Very good and helpful post.
    Thx, your blog in my RSS reader now 😉

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