Monday, December 26, 2016

Tom Sawyer Abroad

Tom Sawyer Abroad. Mark Twain. 1894. 108 pages.

First sentence: DO you reckon Tom Sawyer was satisfied after all them adventures? I mean the adventures we had down the river, and the time we set the darky Jim free and Tom got shot in the leg. No, he wasn’t. It only just p’isoned him for more. That was all the effect it had.

Premise/plot: Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Jim (now free) accidentally have an adventure together--in a hot air balloon--that takes them halfway across the world to Africa. The trip has its dangers certainly. But Tom is so smug and obnoxious that one of the biggest dangers is the size of his ego. The book's biggest weakness perhaps is its sudden and abrupt ending. I can almost imagine Mark Twain going, well, it was fun and interesting when it started...but I've got a new idea for a book now and I just don't care about this anymore. So let's type THE END and send it off to be published.

My thoughts: If the ending had been an actual ending, perhaps this one would have been worth my time--and your time. As it is, I can't really recommend it! Was it easier to get published back then? Was Mark Twain under contract? Did his editor not care either? Did he even have an editor? Instead of improving as it goes along, it does the opposite. Each chapter shows Twain's growing lack of interest in what happens on this balloon ride.

I don't think the fault is solely in the premise. I think it's just that when you start a book you should see it through to the end...or else not publish it.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

No comments: