The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

The moral of this story: Don’t be friends with Tom Sawyer. Just, really. Don’t. I haven’t even read his book, and maybe I won’t. What a crazy person.

I’m not sure how I managed to avoid reading… any Mark Twain at all during my school years. It was never assigned, and I was too busy reading various other things, I guess. And after listening to it now, I can tell you I would never have made it through this book even if it were assigned ā€” straight to SparkNotes I would have gone.

This is largely because of the dialect business, which is hard enough to understand as spoken to you via a lovely audiobook narrator, and which, upon opening up my paperback copy of the book, is a little overwhelming in print. It is also because of the distinct lack of plot, which I am getting more accepting of in my old age but would have bored me to tears in high school.

So I cannot really tell you what this book is about, if you haven’t already had the pleasure of reading it yourself, except that there’s a kid and he fakes his death and goes off down the Mississippi with a runaway slave. And while he’s doing it, some seriously nutty stuff happens.

But I can tell you that I quite appreciated the book, which I felt portrayed Huckleberry Finn as a very realistic kid, even if his circumstances were not realistic at all. He faced tough decisions that he reasoned his way through as best he could, and went against some of his greatest instincts in doing so. I can definitely get behind that.

And of course, there’s been that whole thing recently about the use of the word “nigger,” which is in fact quite prolific throughout the book. I personally think its use is quite valid, and that “slave” would not have quite the same effect of placing this book solidly in the time period and mindset that Twain is writing about. It’s obviously not a word I’d like to bring back into fashion, but you can’t deny its existence any more than you can deny the fact that Jim was running away from slavery in the first place.

Recommendation: Totally worth a read if you haven’t managed it yet; best if read with a sense of Twain’s sarcasm.

Rating: 7/10
(A to Z Challenge, TBR Challenge)

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5 thoughts on “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

  1. Mary says:

    I loooooooove this book– read it in college for Marling's class, saw the Elijah Wood movie version about 40 times as a child. Loooovvvveeeeee. I'm not sure I ever read Tom Sawyer all the way through either.

  2. Steph says:

    I read this book for the first time a few years ago, and I also fell in love with it. I loved Twain's sense of humor, but I also thought that he nicely explores basic human nature and relationships in a thoughtful way which is belied by the playful nature of the narrative. I agree that swapping out the word “slave” is something I object to because clearly Twain had a reason for using the words he did, and the issue of black-white relations is a HUGE part of the story.

  3. Mary says:

    Mmmm what I loved about it is what the other commenter said here– I really enjoyed the relationship between Huck and Jim, and I love all of the mischief they do together and all the little vignettes. I just think it's a masterpiece, and I've never understood why a lot of people (including Rachel, haha)have trouble making their way through it.

  4. Wandering Sage says:

    ZY Press has recently published Trials of Huckleberry Finn by David Hoopes as an eBook.

    This sequel to the Mark Twain classic asks the question; What would have happened if Huckleberry Finn and Samuel Langhorne Clemens had grown up together in Hannibal, Missouri, in the 1850's? The Trials of Huckleberry Finn tells that story and follows their relationship through Sam's years on the Mississippi. Mr. Hoopes uses typical Huckleberry Finn narrative style to make this book an enjoyable and exciting read for any fan of Mark Twain.

    Woudl you be interested in seeing a review copy of the book?

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