This is a book I first read many years ago and have recently re-encountered. I did have reservations. I am not sure how its children’s classic status has been affected in America by its historical racism and casual use of pejorative racial terms. I’m sure someone will tell me whether this book is still much read by pre-teens in its original format or whether it is expurgated versions that are most often available. I read it as a free Kindle Classic book in the form it was published in 1876 and it does still remain one of the most readable and entertaining of the Nineteenth Century Children’s Classics.
The book sparkles along with sequences that are funny, touching and even, at times, genuinely frightening. It feels like a pre-cursor of one of the greatest books ever written – “To Kill A Mockingbird” as it shares the same sense of nostalgia in childhood and the unwitting danger of children finding their place and making sense of the adult world. There’s surely one of the most audacious moments in literature when the boys escape to an island to become pirates. Tom returns home secretly and discover the three are believed dead, Tom keeps quiet and return to the island with them coming back to witness their own funerals. Injun Joe remains an extremely effective threatening villain despite having any real contact with Tom and Huck. I know that reputation-wise “Huckleberry Finn” is reputed to be the stronger book and I don’t think I have ever read that. I am looking forward to doing so and digging further into the work of this re-discovered author.
3 thoughts on “The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain (1876)- A Kid-Lit Review”
Oh my. I haven’t read this one in years. I found Huck Finn in the attic a couple of days ago and. brought it down as I last read it when I was about 9 or 10. (A million years ago). Will definitely be giving them both another go. I have an American friend so will ask her about the different editions and if either or any are read.
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My favourite ‘re-read has to be Wind in the Willows. Not perhaps the greatest, but wonderful characterisation. ( plus I work with a few and stoats and weasels.)
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Thanks, Kay. I think you may be surprised how well “Tom Sawyer” still reads. Often, when I’ve re-read books I loved as a child I’ve been thrown as to how they didn’t live up to the memory. Perhaps it helped that I had forgotten all about Tom Sawyer!