I’m currently reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a classic I’ve planned to read for a while. English is a second language to me and while I think I have a certain degree of mastery of it (which I guess happens when more than 80 percent of the text you read and language you hear in a day is in english) I’m actually having a difficult time just getting through the text alone. This is because a lot of the characters speak in a heavy southern accent which is written down almost phonetically, so I have to basically speak it in my head while I read it instead of what my brain usually does: recognize a word on a page and understand its meaning.
I guess for the same reason it took me a while to understand that the name “Phoebe” was pronounced “fee-bee” when I read Catcher in the Rye. At least now I also understand why my local bookshop at first had a tough time to figure out which version to order as there are a lot of edited versions for beginning readers and usage in english classes.
The book is of course good so far, but it is also really horrifying to see what was going on in the south, which polite society at the time either actually didn’t know or more likely just turned a blind eye to what chattel slavery was doing to people. It is a tough read in that sense too.