Throughout my life I have found dozens of “must read these books” lists. Certainly, if you are an avid reader, you have happened upon such things. I often wade through these sorts of anthologies hoping to pull from them a gem or two, never expecting to agree with the entire concoction. I found Huck Finn buried in one such list. You see, I have a quite specific niche of the written world that I gravitate to most easily. What I personally find difficulty in might easily be described as “discovery” of other genres. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a far cry from what you might guess I would read next. What’s more, I put aside the more likely candidate “Blackhawk Down” in the pursuit of Twain. I had always heard that Twain had a way with words unlike any author I will have ever read. I can assure you that this opinion is now my own.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
What a wonderful adventure! At the beginning, I could not help but notice how similar things were going. My only experience with Mark Twain was Tom Sawyer and by chapter 11 or so of Huck Finn, I was being told a new story but from a different angle. More plots, more mischief, more of the same. However, I would be a bold faced liar if I didn’t admit to enjoying it. I consider myself just an overgrown boy anyway, in my personal life that is. One may easily see, therefore, how lending my heart to such adventures and mischief is hardly difficult.
The story changed rather abruptly around that point of the book. Huck is dragged back into an old and quite cloudy world of his past as his Father returns to the story. This is where I found Twain’s depth, where he shows us more of his very realistic side. There is a very real darkness to this story of adventure as Huck Finn and his Father are explored. The result of this sub-story was no less than fantastic, creative and mature.
The book progresses and is broken into a web of sub-stories. Plot after plot is laid and thickened while the overarching story is all but forgotten. One might assume Twain had almost moved on, when ,to your surprise, we end up floating right along the main plot point. Make no mistake about it, Mark Twain lived in these places. He worked in these yards and he knew these people.
Written as it might have been spoken in that era, the actual text is phonetic. This may lead to an odd rehearsal of sorts as you may be forced to read aloud. While this quirky writing style is fun, it moves from novelty to necessary as we follow our band of characters down the river.
Lastly, I must mention the characters. Incredible development of the characters will leave you loving and hating them along the way. I found myself constantly assigning modern actors to characters within the tale. The characters became so real to me, I genuinely worried about them as I was swept away by both bafoonery and danger.
A children’s book… perhaps. A book for overgrown boys… indeed. Beware of the common use of derogatory terms. This was the reality of the southern states of 1800’s America.
4/5 Stars ~ Bravo Mark Twain and Thank You.