Monday, October 27, 2008

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 281
Reason for Reading : What's in a Name Challenge, Guardian 100 Greatest Books of All Time

Huckleberry Finn begins his adventures not long after Twain's earlier novel, Tom Sawyer. Huck is a bit of a rascal, he has a lot of money which was split with Tom from an earlier tale and is living with the well meaning Miss Watson who is trying (in vain)to teach him manners and reading. His life is turned upside doen by the return of his abusive father who takes him back into his care and tries to get hold of his money to drink it all away. Huck is able to fake his own death and escapes to Jackson Island with only black slave Jim for company (also running away before he is sold to New Orleans and separated from his family for good).

The two have a series of mini adventures on their travels. Some make you laugh out loud and others were sad, tragic tales of early death and loss. They meet up with two con artists who tell them they are a Duke and a King. Huck is wise to them, being a bit of a con artist himself, but they profit from their schemes for a while. Huck reaches his tolerance when the scoundrals try to fleece three young girls who have just lost their father and decides it is time to ditch them and travel just him and Jim again.

This novel started really slowly for me. The first third was pretty dull, just setting the scene and getting to know Huck and Jim. It was only when they left to sail down the river that things became more interesting. My main problem was that it is a product of it's time. For the most part, the story has moved with the times and is still funny, sad and relevant. The main thing is the racism. I understand that it was appropriate to use certain words at the time of writing, but it was quite uncomfortable the frequency with which some words were used and it did sour the book for me to a degree. I am glad I read it though, but am not sure I would read it again.


Alice said...

I have always wanted to start on a classic but never got to it. And sad to say I'm not too keen to start on this one... :(

Kim L said...

Sounds like a good read. I think I have read one of these books, but it was so long ago I can't remember. Anyhow, definitely time to pick it up again!

Literary Feline said...

It's been ages since I've read this one and Tom Sawyer. I did enjoy both of them.

Ana S. said...

This is definitely not an easy read. The first time I tried it I ended up giving up. The second time I did enjoy it, but I much prefer Tom Sawyer.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I would love to re-read this one someday. I read it in 10th grade (when I was 15?) and really struggled with the language as well (both the antiquated language and the word you speak of). We read it for class and I'm not even sure if it is being taught anymore because of the N word?? I know it is banned in many forums.