Monday, May 30, 2016

Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain. 1884. 327 pages. [Source: Library]

I have been meaning to reread Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn since last August when I saw a production of BIG RIVER. At the time I saw Big River, it had been almost eight years since I'd last read the book. I was not sure what was "in the book" or "true to the book" and what was not. I loved, loved, LOVED, LOVED the local production of Big River. And if they had sold albums with that cast singing the songs, I'd have BOUGHT it and played it again and again and again and again. (Particularly Martin Clark as Jim. He was AMAZING).

So am I glad I reread it. Yes!!! Very much. I think this novel is lost--almost wasted--on younger audiences when it's "required" reading for schools. Both times that I've read it as an adult have been positive.

I love the character of Huckleberry Finn. I love the character of Jim. I think I paid even more attention to Jim's character this time around. Those two alone make this novel worth reading carefully. This one isn't one I'd want to listen too, however, or read aloud. The language in this one can be very harsh on the ears I'd imagine. Certain words are just ugly no matter what. That being said, the presence of a certain word is not reason enough to ban it or censor it!

The book is an coming-of-age adventure story with heart and humor. Neither Jim or Huck are book-smart or intellectual, but both are endearing and genuine. Two characters I hated were King and Duke. Tom Sawyer also got on my nerves a LOT in this one.

First sentence: You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.

An example of Huck's narrative voice:
Every night, now, I used to slip ashore, towards ten o'clock, at some little village, and buy ten or fifteen cents' worth of meal or bacon or other stuff to eat; and sometimes I lifted a chicken that warn't roosting comfortable, and took him along. Pap always said, take a chicken when you get a chance, because if you don't want him yourself you can easy find somebody that does, and a good deed ain't ever forgot. I never see pap when he didn't want the chicken himself, but that is what he used to say, anyway.
Well, then, says I, what's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same? I was stuck. I couldn't answer that. So I reckoned I wouldn't bother no more about it, but after this always do whichever come handiest at the time.
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Mike 3:18 AM  

Wow. I haven't read Huckleberry Finn in years, but your review makes me want to revisit it. As I recall, it was more violent than I thought it would be, but told with irony. It's been called the best American novel of all time.

By the way, I agree with you and think a lot of books that are required in school are wasted because they are over the heads of most of their readers. Sad, but our education system of the last sixty plus years has dumbed-down America.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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