Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - A review.

I recently (as in two or three days ago) finished The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain for literature.


Title: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Author: Mark Twain (real name, Samuel Clemens)

Synopsis: Huck Finn escapes town with a runaway slave, Jim, and they travel down the Mississippi River together and have many an adventure.

My rating: 6/10 stars.

Why I liked the story: It was VERY entertaining. Huck and Jim get into a lot of scrapes and usually they are pretty humerus. Plus, Mark Twain's writing style in itself is very funny.
He had some really great descriptions.... Some that made me laugh out loud. .....Something about the meat was harder than chewing on an old corpse.
The plot twist near the end when Tom Sawyer showed up... That was really funny! My mom thought it was too far fetched, but I loved it.
So (spoilers!) Huck goes to this house because they're holding Jim and trying to give him back to his rightful owner (except they have the wrong address). Huck is going to try and rescue Jim but the lady of the house comes running out and says she's so glad to see Huck. She thinks that Huck is her nephew. Her nephew Tom Sawyer! Well, then Tom comes... And Huck pretends to be Tom and Tom pretends to be Sid (his brother). Tom agrees to help Huck rescue Jim but he insists on doing it the right way. AKA, making it as complicated as possible (when all the while, Jim is actually a free man because his former owner died and set him free in her will).
Anyway, there's one part where Huck and Tom are trying to roll a giant grindstone into the shack where Jim is being held and they can't do it by themselves so they go and slip Jim's chain off the bed and get him to help. Then they slip it back over the bed because they aren't done rescuing him yet. It was really outrageously funny....
Mark Twain really seemed to know what he was talking about. After all, he was a riverboat pilot for awhile. I think that he did a good job of portraying life on the River in the 1840's.
Huck and Jim's friendship is very nice. Even though the Civil War wouldn't happen for 20 years in the book.... Huck is ahead of his time - he realises that Jim is a man, just like himself.

Things I didn't like/things you should know: The main reason that I will not be re-reading this book anytime soon is that I didn't like the unchecked lawlessness/Godlessness. Mostly all the characters are immoral, lie, and cheat. Hardly anyone raises a finger against them.... Although the King and Duke (two con men) do get tarred and feathered for conning the people up and down the river.
Huck's father was an alcoholic who beat and yelled at his son, stole all his money, and drank it away. Huck has very little education and because of this upbringing, he lies. A lot. Usually he gets away with it without anyone being the wiser. Sometimes he struggles with morals... Should I turn Jim in or not? In the end he ends up saying no, I will continue to break the law (of the times) and keep running away with a runaway slave, even if I have to go to hell for it.
So yeah, I didn't care too much for the unchecked lawlessness of almost all the characters.
The characters swear a bit... Also, the N (slang for negro) is used a LOT! That kind of annoyed me... just because I'm not a huge fan of slang terms or swear words (whenever someone swears in a book I feel like hurtling it across the room. It's one thing hearing it on TV... But actually reading the word? Yuck!). At the same time, though, the N word was used a LOT back then. It was the accepted everyday term before the Civil War. It's history. Are we not going to read the story of Solomon in the Bible just because he had 700 wives? That's history too. It doesn't make it right... But that's what was acceptable back then (actually, I'm not 100% sure in Solomon's wives was acceptable... at least in the eyes of God. I can't remember when He said "one man to one woman").

Have I read it before? Nope.

Will I read it again? Probably not... At least not anytime soon.

Would I recommend it? It was a very entertaining read. The lawlessness might not bother some people (on the contrary, the N word probably would.
Random fact: Did you know that Huck Finn was a banned book shortly after it came out in 1884? It was banned because Huck Finn wasn't a "hero." He wasn't the well behaved, wild animal-saving boy people wanted to read about. Now, however, Huck Finn is banned because of the racial prejudices throughout the whole book. It's kind of interesting to compare to two.)
Anyway.... You have to take a grain of salt with this book, I think. It really is in the eye of the beholder. If you are interesting in reading an entertaining classic go ahead and read this book! Just be warned that it is full of racial prejudices and lawlessness.
Although I can't help but wonder if Mark Twain wanted it to be that way because he was trying to write a biography on society.
Anyway, personally, I did not care too much for this book. But other people might.

Live long and prosper!


  1. Huck Finn has always been banned in someplace somewhere. They finally came out with a copy that substituted the controversial language recently, but many refuse to read it as it's not the way it was originally written. I, for one, prefer to read it as is, since it preserves the time period. It still makes me uncomfortable, but it is a good reminder that just because society says something is okay does not mean it is.

  2. This book was not required reading in my I know why!
    You had excellent comments and insight. From a 74 year old gramma.