Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Aladdin Classics, 1999.

I don’t know why I bothered to reread this. The plot remains with me, however murky, thanks to grade school, high school and college. I’ve certainly read and reread it numerous times for numerous reasons. By the Lust Rules I could have skipped this one because I remember how it all turns out. I didn’t skip it because Huck makes me laugh. Okay, I laugh at all but one part. I’ll get to “that part” a little later.

When Mark Twain titled this Adventures of Huckleberry Finn he wasn’t kidding. Huck is a almost orphaned boy living with a widow. Dad is an abusive alcoholic who shows up occasionally to try to steal from Huck. While Huck is grateful to the widow for a roof over his head and food to eat he is of the “thanks, but no thanks” mindset and soon runs away. He would rather be sleeping out under the stars, floating down the Mississippi while trapping small game and fishing than minding his ps and qs and keeping his nose clean in school. Huck is a clever boy and he shows this time and time again (getting away after being kidnapped by his father, faking his own death, dressing like a girl, tricking thieves etc), but his immaturity often catches up to him. Huck’s partner is crime is Jim, slave of Miss Watson’s. Together they build a raft and travel down the Mississippi getting into all sorts of mayhem. One of the best things about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the descriptions of the people and places Huck and Jim encounter along their journey.

Book Trivia: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was met with a great deal of controversy thanks to Twain’s use of the word “nigger” in his story and yet, if read closely, readers will see Huck has a moral compass that grows stronger as he gets to know Jim as a person.

Author Fact: Mark Twain was staunch supporter of civil rights, including the rights of women.

So, about the part I’m not thrilled with. In this day and age of relentless child predators I was shocked by Huckleberry’s cunning to make himself look murdered. Maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of ‘Criminal Minds’ because the lengths that Huck goes through to fake his own death are chilling to me. Killing a pig and smearing its blood along a path to the river. Yes, it’s clever, but to the people who care about Huckleberry Finn it’s devastating. It’s okay, I tell myself, it’s just a book.

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Literary Lives: The Americans” (p 145).



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