Book Title: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Author: Mark Twain (Pen name – Real name | Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
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A Bird’s Eye View
I read this book back in my sixth grade. When we read it as part of the Non-Detail or books that does not required detailed study but more so for exposure. That I must say I loved the Non-Detail collection of books of original unabridged versions. Because our school believed in reading the original work of the authors.
Clemens was an incredibly detailed writer even when I read it in my school. Back then the focus was not to enjoy the dialect, but more falling towards the adventure part of the story. The joy of the Huckleberry’s adventure with Jim was such a welcome diversion for the tomboy version inside me.
The Online Book Club for South Asia: Books Beyond Borders! which is an interaction with other regional participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It is a drive by Books Beyond Borders program initiative to conducted virtual book club meetings.
The 8th virtual book club zoom meeting happened and finished with ease. To quote from their mailer the online book club is “facilitated by Embassy Kathmandu and Embassy New Delhi staffers, as well as colleagues from Karkhana, a knowledge partner of both of our Embassies.”
The book chosen for reading for the club was “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by “Mark Twain.” It was my first of a kind experience with online book club. This happened totally by the internet chance card!
One fine day, my inbox glittered with the invite to join the book club for a virtual meeting in Zoom meetings and written participation in Google Classroom. I joined the group mid-way. When discussion opened, it was remarkably interesting to observe the various views from fellow readers.
The re-reading of the book brought back old memories and I relived my joy of literature from various writers. Our school always delegated American writing to Non-Detail Category because we were so British uppity upper class. Gosh! I loved the Americans a lot more for the frankness and pioneering attitude.
About the Storyteller
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910) had multiple pen names with which he shared his view of the society. Clemens knew the tempo of the story so well. His personal experiences in the boats and handling it had become the fodder for the story.
The way he works on the details of raft, canoe, boats, and floating woods are dealt with such fine penmanship that you can visualize the entire scene with great ease. He had a wonderful way of bringing out the best things about the various dialects presented in the book.
How the thought process happened for each character was also given importance. Their fears, joys, political views and general approach to life and its challenges were beautifully brought out.
The Story in a Nutshell
The storyline is simple and straight-forward with some complexity. Even though the complexity is involved in the book, but the adventure part of the story quickly gets the reader away from the serious tones.
Huckleberry Finn as young lad is not interested in being stuffed inside the house with a list of must do and must not do list. He felt studying and other so-called civilized activity to be boring. He craved for adventure and freedom to do thinks that excite him.
The Adventure he has while the people he meets and takes on challenges to overcome all obstacles in the name of adventure. The serious scene does not become serious really. It is just a right touch and go with providential rescue or help at hand during crisis. The book closes with Huck having plans to escape from being a civilized person.
This book has two different review point because I could never forget my experience with the book. The child’s view and an adult’s view clashes and gets mixed up in this review.
My Likes and Dislikes
I loved the adventures that Huck and Jim have while Tom was trying hard to have an adventure. I do not know if Huck realizes his adventures on the river were more risky, life-threatening and requiring street smartness which was so prominent throughout the novel. While Tom was leaning more towards middle class mindset where bookish knowledge was all. So, his view of having wild risky adventures were also followed the dictates of bookish adventure.
Tom was someone who went by what was in the books while Huck preferred to wing it out. That way I think Huck was the most adventures person of the trio. I felt that Jim was an older person whose presence gave a sense of Huck being secure. Most the hard works related to living on a raft and surviving by fishing is handled by Jim and Huck together.
I enjoyed the dialect and the flavor of it much later because the adventure completely overshadows the stark realities of the novel. If you do not read too much between the lines, then you will enjoy the story for its energy to keep the ball of suspense rolling.
I was a young girl almost or a little above Huck’s age when I read this book. For me somehow, I could never see this book as something to grieve or feel sorry for. I felt even in the hardship of Jim it was as if the safety of the persons involved and their escapades were more important than what society had to offer. Adventures predominantly took over the story and social inequalities are not so stark a factor. I could never see the book any other way. Since it is colored by my childhood images.
Image Source | The Front Cover