After running away from an abusive father, Huckleberry Finn starts down the Mississippi in a canoe and raft with the runnaway slave of his former guardian, Jim.
Why this book?: Last required book for my Lit class.
Rambling, inattentive prose
Twain’s writing style can only be described as double-sided. One side is utterly plain, and void of all character. The other side is interesting and unique, and reflected the era with the diction used throughout. Unfortunately, the majority of the book was the first side, and only a few times during the end did the writing actually catch my attention and keep me interested.
The characters were either boring, annoying, or stereotypical. Huck felt like a cardboard cut out. What you knew of him was decent, and he was a smart character, but Twain was building him up to be the “smart” one. With pairing him with Jim, Twain made it as if Huck was speaking and caring for a baby, and that got old real fast. Jim barely got any time on the page, and whenever he was, he was belittled and called “my n*****” by Huck or any other character that was with them at the time.
Later on, I thought Tom’s character was taking the romanticization too far, and it was just getting ridiculous.
Trying to disguise racism as inclusiveness
A lot of people have also tried to pass off this book as being non-racist. Let me just say, it was.
Jim’s treatment throughout the book, by the characters AND the author, was frankly disappointing. Jim was often shoved to the side, or painted as a “stupid n*****” and couldn’t think for himself. Often, the episodes throughout the book were only Huck, and Jim was often left behind and not mentioned for chapters and chapters on end. For something people often claim as proactive, it fell pretty short of that.
I guess now’s the time to mention that, “because” of the time period and the characters in the story, the n-word came up quite a few times. I was warned by multiple people that it showed up A LOT. I made it my personal mission to circle and number every use of it, and the total came to 214. That’s right. The book was barely over 200 pages, as well, so that goes to say that the n-word was used at least once a page.
Final Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
I . . . really couldn’t stand this book by the end. It ended very abruptly and, to be frank, it was a very stupid ending. Everything was just wrapped up very conveniently, and it was too “perfect”.
Would I Recommend?
The ONLY reason I would recommend this book is for the AP Composition and Literature test. Literally the ONLY reason.
Published: December 10th, 1884
Publisher: Chatto & Windus / Charles L. Webster And Company
Page Count: 254
Synopsis: via Goodreads
“You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter,” declares Huck at the start of one of the greatest books in American literature. Filled with all the humor, suspense, and sheer excitement of its predecessor, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the more profound and accomplished creation. The tale of two outcasts’ journey down the Mississippi River, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a nostalgic portrayal of a world Twain knew intimately, and the moving story of a boy who must make his own way in an often cruel society that counts it a sin to help a runaway slave.