The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Review
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was always one of my favourite books growing up. I read it at school back in the days of recess, trades-ees and bubblegum cards. But its considerably larger and more ominous brother, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, on the other hand, had always been a “next book” for me, the one that hides in the far corner of your mind whenever you walk into a book store or the library and ask yourself that agonizing question, “what should I read next?” It was the book I always meant to read but kept forgetting at these crucial moments.

At long last, I recently sat myself down in my cosy reading corner and, amidst the backdrop of fresh spring rain, began one of the most celebrated books in all of American literature.

Far from the boyish innocence enjoyed by readers of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn is an exploration into the dire circumstances of mid-nineteenth century life in the South. It examines the effects of slavery, poverty, and desperation.

Fresh from his last adventure with Tom Sawyer (and a certain $6,000 nest-egg acquired during), Huck decides to try living the civilized life now that he’s been adopted by the Widow Douglass. But the return of Huck’s degenerate father, who wants his share of Huck’s fortune, soon puts an end to these plans, and Huck is forced to live in a run-down shack on the outskirts of town.

Huck eventually escapes and soon discovers that the widow’s slave, Jim, has done the same—and the two begin their mighty adventure down-river together.

I found this book a little long and, at times, downright boring. While the subject matter was interesting, the dialogue (Twain insisted upon re-creating, phonetically, four principle dialects of Southern speech) was incredibly tedious to work through. While the characters are allowed a certain freedom through this use of dialect, the reader loses much of the ambiance of the fantasy by being constantly forced to acknowledge the difficulty in deciphering this word or that outdated turn of phrase.

Still, Twain’s writing has a way of uncovering much of the hidden subtleties of life, which makes it refreshing. If you enjoy listening while one of your grandparents tells a story with an agonizing attention to irrelevant detail, then any of Twain’s writing is for you. In particular, if you like that detail to have a certain Southern flavour, then The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would be a proper choice.

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