My Dad gave me this book rather a long time ago, and on each occasion in which I have begun to read it, I have thought that I should really read its prequel of sorts, Tom Sawyer, first. I have never got around to it, however, so when The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn came out of my book choice jar, I began it regardless.
The book, which was first published in 1884, is told in dialect – quite a light one on the whole, which is not at all overdone and which is quite easy to get into the style of. I did find Jim’s dialect a little taxing at times though, and I occasionally found myself skipping over the things he said because it simply felt like too much of a chore to interpret it all. The social and historical elements of the story are strong, and nature looms large throughout, almost presented as a character in itself. Indeed, things like the Mississippi River bring life to the tale, and without this one important landmark, there would certainly not be such an exciting adventure within the book. The importance of the river – both to Huck and Jim and to the population at large, who depend upon it so very much – is well portrayed.
I did not read any of Twain’s work as a child, and part of me is glad that this was the first time in which I encountered The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It holds a lot of interest for me as an adult with regard to its historical perspective, but if I had read it when I was little, I am sure that it would merely have felt like a boy’s adventure story, and would have lost some of its intrigue in consequence. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is very of its time, and that is why I feel that it is such an important book to read.