The first half of this book, I loved. It is a devastating and important book, but to me pales in comparison to Roots (Alex Haley), which was more forceful and gripping, with more ‘real’ characters.
Old Tom’s Cabin lost me around two thirds of the way through, with what seemed like a degeneration into religious drivel. It is written well enough to read through without grimacing at clumsy language or expression, but not well enough to make me stop and think ‘god, this is so good’. But what was a story turns into a strange Christian diatribe that seems to divert and disrupt any flow it had. It takes on an almost magic realist element which made it a slog to finish, and has completely coloured both my view and memory of the book. It’s about 200 pages too long, and they’re a hard 200 pages to force yourself to read!