I don’t think I’ve read this book since I was in the seventh grade. There are parts of it that seemed really familiar, like the whitewashing and the incident with the cave, but I’m wondering if those memories are more from watching the Disney movie. Either way, reading this was a really pleasant trip down memory lane and just what I was in the mood for. That Tom Sawyer is one funny fellow—and Huck is even better!
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is the classic tale of a very rambunctious boy of the same name. I don’t think there is any simpler way to put it other than Mark Twain seems to be trying to figure out all the different ways a boy Tom’s age can get in trouble! I had forgotten all of the shenanigans and mischief—the playing pirates and looking for gold and pretending to be bank robbers—just good old fashioned fun. Deep down Tom and Huck are good kids with a little streak of rebellion, and as Twain puts it–most of the trouble they get into is because of the “shouldn’ts” and “can’ts.” Once those restrictions are taken away, any type of desire to be “bad” disappears.
Much of the fun of Tom Sawyer is getting to see what the boys will do next, so I won’t go any further into what the books is about. It did take me a few chapters to get into the rhythm of Twain’s writing, but his writing has a wonderful lyrical style and he is quite humorous. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the witticisms and little philosophical side notes Twain interjected into the book. My favorite part of Tom Sawyer, though, is the dialogue. I had a tougher time with the dialect in Huck Finn, but Tom Sawyer is fairly readable. I’ll leave you with two passages–the first is one of my favorite parts of the book when Tom feeds Aunt Polly’s cat Painkiller. The second is an example of the dialogue in an exchange between Tom and Huck when they think they’ve happened upon a treasure of money.
“Peter [the cat] was agreeable. So Tom pried his mouth open and poured down the Painkiller. Peter sprang a couple of yards in the air, and then delivered a war whoop and set off round and round the room, banging against furniture, upsetting flowerpots, and making general havoc. Next he rose on his hind feet and pranced around, in a frenzy of enjoyment, with his head over his shoulder and his voice proclaiming his unappeasable happiness. Then he went tearing around the house again spreading chaos and destruction in his path. Aunt Polly entered in time to see him throw the open window, carrying the rest of the flowerpots with him. The old lady stood petrified with astonishment, peering over her glasses; Tom lay on the floor expiring with laughter” (68).
“I’m going to buy a new drum, and sure-‘nough sword, and a red necktie and a bull pup, and get married.”
“Tom, you-why, you ain’t in your right mind.”
“Well, that’s the foolishest thing you could do. Look at pap and my mother.
Fight! Why, they used to fight all the time. I remember, mighty well.”
“That ain’t anything. The girl I’m going to marry won’t fight.”
“Tom, I reckon they’re all alike…” (128).
I can just hear the two boys bickering back and forth in my head–usually I don’t need a lot of dialogue in books and aren’t bothered if the book is text-heavy, but in this case I looked forward to every little exchange. I hope you’ll read this book. It is full of fun and southern charm, and although there are probably lessons to be learned from Tom and Huck and their scrapes, I just relaxed with this one and let the adventure sweep me away.
What was the last book you read that was just plain fun?