02 September 2009

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer has a pretty easy life, contrary to what he may believe: his Aunt Polly is indulgent of his youthful pranks, his friends are easily duped into his zany schemes, and his free time is whiled away pretending to be a pirate or bandit. Tom’s carefree life comes to a screeching halt, though, when he and his pal, Huck Finn, witness a savage murder one night in the town cemetery. Tom’s problems suddenly expand from dodging responsibility to dodging the ferocious murderer, Injun Joe.

I’ve always liked Mark Twain as a writer – he’s a natural story teller and he has a wonderful sense of humor. His talents in both of these areas – particularly in the humor department – really shine in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Most of Tom’s adventures are pretty amusing – his running away from home to be a pirate was my favorite. Twain’s narration is also very easy to read. He was the first American writer who didn’t consciously imitate English authors in style. Consequently, his hilarious narration and realistic dialogue are easier to read than most 19th century classics. I didn’t have too much trouble with the rustic dialect that his Missouri characters used, but a couple of phrases did baffle me. (Annotated novels work wonders!)

A couple of minor problems: this novel doesn’t really have a plot – it’s very episodic. Most of the chapters are just scenes in which Tom is wrecking havoc on anyone who is unfortunate enough to be in his general vicinity. The most consistent story line is probably the one with Injun Joe. I usually don’t like these types of slice-of-life stories – I find them boring – but Twain keeps things pretty entertaining, so it didn’t annoy me too much. I didn't always find Tom very sympathetic though; Tom was too bratty for my taste at times. (Poor Aunt Polly - the woman has my sympathies.) And I thought the ending was a little too contrived. But these problems didn’t ruin the novel for me in any way.

With Tom’s frequent disappearances from school and his constant escapades, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a good book for summer. (I reviewed this one about two months too late!) It’s a fun, easy read. But don’t take this one to the beach. It just seems to call out for a hammock. If you have one…


  1. Always loved Tom Sawyer. I really like episodic novels and this one was my favorite.
    However, I agree that the ending seemed contrived. :D

  2. Yes, I really enjoyed this one too. (I was looking for something fun to read and saw this one on one of my bookshelves and thought, "Aha!")

    I'm a bit picky about endings, but this one didn't bother me like novels with "surprise" endings that aren't surprising or mystery novels that cheat me out of a good story. (I, ahem, have been known to argue with books over the endings. My family acts like they can't hear me. :D )

  3. Uhm...Scott, I feel foolish asking this, but how do you edit or delete images once you've posted them on your blog? I decided to add images to my blog because I thought they'd look nice. Well, some of the images, although I saved them to be small, are not so small and they have, in a fit of evil mischief, decided to separate s's from the ends of the words they belong to. I hate to bother you, but the help feature isn't very helpful, and I'm a technological moron. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! :)

  4. Actually, I've halfway solved this problem by just slightly rewording my intros and using smaller words! Desperation (and perfectionism) are the mothers of all invention! :D

    But if you do know how to delete those images without deleting the post, I would appreciate any advice. :)