Book Review, Classic Literature, Fiction

Book Review: “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

Rating: 7.9 out of 10.0

Author: Mark Twain

Genre: Action and Adventure [Classic Literature]

About: Although an American novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was released in the United Kingdom first on December 10, 1884. It was released in the United States in 1885. It is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which was released in 1876 by Twain and was immensely popular. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, though very controversial from the get-go was received fairly well. Although, it wasn’t until many years later, when literary giants T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway favorably reviewed it, praising it in many ways, that the general public came to accept the controversial work and popularize it.

Likes: I was pleased with this book overall. One of the central parts of the book is the internal conflict of Huck’s inner, rebellious, mischievous self and the sweet, Christian, formality of those who have tried to civilize him—namely the old widow. Huck wrestles with this, knowing that he should be good. In nearly every situation, he ends up sort of doing the right thing, which can be a good model to the reader. The characters are those that we have come to love since reading Tom Sawyer, with a bunch of new ones added in. Sometimes the lesser characters can become muddled together, but it is easy to keep the main characters straight. The plot was pretty good, but the setting was what made it great. It’s set in the same, rugged setting as Tom Sawyer, which many have come to love. Lastly, the humor was thick in this book. I could barely go a few pages without laughing out loud. This classic work is not necessarily my favorite book that I have ever read, but it is certainly worth your time.

Dislikes: Okay, so the obvious drawback to this book is its frequent use of the n-word. Recent publications have censored this word, but we have to remember that it was something that fit in the original context that Twain was writing in. Unfortunately, he was writing during a dark period for America, in which slaves were treated like animals. He confronts some of that issue in this book, by making a slave one of the main characters and making his quest for freedom a noble story goal. However, in doing this he portrays the slaves as superstitious, unintelligent creatures who were just part of the setting, for the most part. Another drawback to this book is the dialects that Twain includes in it. He writes it so that you almost have to read it out loud to understand what they are saying. Also, there is several instances in which deliberate deception is portrayed as okay, because it is like a game. Lastly, parts of the plot were weak. For instance, Huck Finn seems to have no particular goal, except to help Jim, the slave, reach his freedom.

Summary: In what Ernest Hemingway called “the best book we’ve had,” Mark Twain has created what many consider to be The Great American Novel. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story of an uncivilized and rebellious boy on a quest for independence and self-discovery. In an attempt to escape from a drunk and abusive father and the constraints of 19th century Southern society, both Huck and his travel companion, Jim, a runaway slave in search of freedom, travel down the Mississippi on a makeshift raft. Through their many adventures and attempts to fit into the world around them, Huck and Jim give us a highly amusing and satirical look into the contradictions and ironies of Southern life in the 1840s. (New York Post Family Classics Library)

Book Length: 254 pages (New York Post Family Classics Library)

Favorite Character: Huckleberry Finn

Suggested Age: 14+


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