What would you do if I whipped you like an animal? Would you thrash and fight and kick – or would you stand and know you had no choice but to to take it. This is the story of the people who had to stand and take it. This is the story of the one boy who fought. He used to try to be good, at the orphanage. He used to look after his brother. He used to have more worth than a cigarette butt that has been ground into the street. As soon as they sent Samuel to be a slave it was as if they had shoved a coarse, brown sack onto his head that he couldn’t get out from. They changed his name. They forged his papers. They forbade him to read or write. And unless he could make them believe that his name wasn’t Friday – that he wasn’t a slave, they wouldn’t let him go. In the midst of a place where people are treated like animals, where the American Civil War rages, Samuel will learn how difficult it is to be a good man in a bad world.
The allure in this book is captured and harnessed in its language style and phraseology. Infused inside coarse manners and rough lives there is some indescribable, unique quality in the way the most heartfelt of emotions are conveyed in a few unsophisticated sentences. This modest, unpolished language portrays every sentiment as pure and rare, coming from the heart. But in addition to this, the language creates the setting of the story better than any description. Without elaboration, a world of dirty streets and basic food is created. Without mention of luxuries we know that in this world everything is sparse and meagre. Another engaging aspect is the conflict of character in the protagonist, Samuel. As the story opens he is depicted as an unusually pious character, always obedient and virtuous, and regarded highly at the orphanage.