Sunday, May 20

Book Review: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Author:  Mark Twain
Title: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Adventures #2)
Genre: Fiction, Classic
Pages: 368
First Published: 1884
Where I Got It: My shelf

"Of all the contenders for the title of The Great American Novel, none has a better claim than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Intended at first as a simple story of a boy's adventures in the Mississippi Valley-a sequel to Tom Sawyer-the book grew and matured under Twain's hand into a work of immeasurable richness and complexity. More than a century after its publication, the critical debate over the symbolic significance of Huck's and Jim's voyage is still fresh, and it remains a major work that can be enjoyed at many levels: as an incomparable adventure story and as a classic of American humor."

Pretty much every summary is like this, so I'll sum it up myself:

Huck Finn is the right-hand man of the infamous kid Tom Sawyer, this story follows Huck and one of his grand adventures. Huck decides that being civilized is out of the question, so he decides to find his freedom. Along the way he comes across Jim, a runaway slave, and the two decide to be friends and explorers and find their freedom together. Along the way Huck and Jim find themselves meeting new people and finding lots of trouble.

I read this when I was a freshmen in High School and here I am reading it again in my American Literature class. In some twisted way I was actually excited about reading this again. Why? Well, with time comes a different perceptive. I did like it beforehand, but now that I'm older my taste may have change. It's always fun to re-read books from your youth. 

Okay...I'm still not a Mark Twain fan, but I did like this book. I also sort of liked Tom Sawyer (I should re-read that too). I like it even more that I believe that Jim is the hero, or so says my professor, and not Huck. Huck is butt-cheek near the end there. I love Jim though. He is such a great guy and just a wonderful character. He is the only "good" character in the book. He is selfless and is such a sweetheart. All the other characters (Huck included) sooner or later show their true colors. 

I must applaud Mark Twain for throwing  a loop into the literature world. During this time slaves had been free for a while, but racism still was like mold; blackening the hearts of everyone. However, he managed to make this a very popular story even though Jim was a main character (and the hero of the story). I'm not sure how Mark Twain managed that, but he was a genius. 

Besides for not being a fan of the majority of characters, I also wasn't a fan of the ending. I forgot how badly it ended. We discussed this in class. My professor asked, "Is the ending meaning something or do you think Twain just dropped the ball on this one just to get this book out of the way and published?" It was a surprising ending and slightly confusing.

Everyone in class said Twain did this on purpose. I agree. There is great meaning on how it ended, but I can't really share my thoughts on what the meaning is. Mark Twain wasn't the sort to "drop the ball". Everything had a reason and so was this.

Sorry about adding some class material to this review, but I couldn't stop myself. It was a fun story and I do believe that everyone who likes classics needs to read this. I can see why it lasted throughout the generations like it did. It'll last many more years. Perhaps my own kids will read this in High School. Out of five stars I grant this one 4 stars. It's the same rating as before, but oh well.

Favorite Character(s): Jim and Huck (beginning and middle)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Pretty much everyone else



SF said...

I appreciate finding a classics review now and then! Definitely didn't appreciate this one the first time around, which I think has something to do with how young I was, but also probably something to do with personal taste. I should definitely re-read it. But the Lord of the Rings is getting re-read first this summer! So it will have to wait. ;)

Carole Rae said...

I do love classics. ooooh LOTR is an always with me. I'm planning on reading the third one over again very soon. :)

Blodeuedd said...

I kind of want to go and read the ending now...

Carole Rae said...

Do it B!