The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain

 
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain

It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them.

Huck Finn spits, swears, smokes a pipe and never goes to school. With his too-big clothes and battered straw hat, Huck is in need of ‘civilising’, and the Widow Douglas is determined to take him in hand. And wouldn’t you know, Huck’s no-good Pap is also after him and he locks Huck up in his cabin in the woods.

But Huck won’t stand too much of this, and after a daring escape, he takes off down the Mississppi on a raft with an runaway slave called Jim. But plenty of dangers wait for them along the river - will they survive and win their freedom?

Review

Set in the antebellum Deep South, Huckleberry Finn is a beguiling tale about a pair of runaways and the friendship that develops between them as they journey by raft down the Mississippi River. One of these runaways is, of course, Huck, who also serves as the narrator. Readers see the Mississippi and its surrounds through his unsullied eyes; determine what he determines through the oddly ordered syntax of his Deep South dialect; grow increasingly more fond of him as he begins to treat his adult African-American travelling companion, Jim, with less cruelty and more respect.

As you’ve probably already guessed, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy adventure. Though beware: it could easily turn into a dangerous book for children if Huck’s use of a certain racial epithet fails to be understood in terms of its socio-historical context.

But don’t let that deter you. By placing Huckleberry Finn in the hands of a young reader, you’re not only introducing them to one of the finest (and funniest) examples of modern literature, you’re also introducing them to a friend for life. And what gift could possibly be greater than that?


Scott Bradie is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

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