adventures of huckleberry finn review

My Thoughts on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I’ve been doing so well getting caught up on the pile of books I have to read, I have been able to start reading classics again! My goal is to read at least one a month. I recently posted about some classics that are on are my to-read list, so I’ll probably be going through that list first.

Anyway, so for the month of July I read two whole classics (gasp!). And by read I mean listened to the audiobooks.  The first was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The other was Cannery Row (my thoughts on that one coming soon!).

My Thoughts on The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Published by Penguin Classics on December 10, 1884
Genres: Historical Fiction, Children's Classic, Classic Literature
Pages: 327
Narrator: Eric G. Dove
Length: 9 hours, 32 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon, Buy from The Book Depository

Of all the contenders for the title of The Great American Novel, none has a better claim than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Intended at first as a simple story of a boy's adventures in the Mississippi Valley - a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - the book grew and matured under Twain's hand into a work of immeasurable richness and complexity. More than a century after its publication, the critical debate over the symbolic significance of Huck's and Jim's voyage is still fresh, and it remains a major work that can be enjoyed at many levels: as an incomparable adventure story and as a classic of American humor.

*Click the Amazon and Book Depository links above to see some neat editions of this novel!

So I don’t like reviewing classics, because honestly, what could I say that hasn’t been said one thousand times already? Instead I’ll give you my rapid-fire thoughts I had while listening to the book.

1. This accent is hard to understand.

The audiobook narrator read the book in the appropriate dialect. This was very well done, but made for some challenging listening at times! I got used to it eventually, though, and by and by learned to enjoy it. (Ha! See what I did there?)

2. What is happening in this story?

Okay, so at first I kind of didn’t get the point (I know, I know, I’m the worst reader of classics ever). Where was this story going? What were Huck and Jim going to do on this river? Eventually, I got used to the fact that there wasn’t much of a point other than to detail what happened to Huck as he floated down the river.

3. Huck Finn’s character is actually quite complicated. 

Some of the sticky situations Huck gets himself into are tricky, and his methods of getting himself out reveal him to be both clever and thoughtful. Huck is actually a pretty smart guy. I also really appreciated his complex thoughts on right and wrong in addition to his moral evolution throughout the book (especially regarding Jim, his companion and runaway slave).

There are a lot of quotes to elucidate Huck’s complexity, but I really liked his comments on a conscience: “…it don’t make no difference if you do right or wrong, a person’s conscience ain’t got no sense, and just goes for him anyway… It takes up more room than all the rest of a person’s insides, and yet ain’t no good, nohow.”

4. The scenes with Tom Sawyer are the best. 

I have to say, that no matter how much I enjoyed Huck Finn, I liked all the scenes with Tom Sawyer the best. He is absolutely hilarious and ultimately is more the type of character I want to read about. I mean, the whole part when they’re trying to break Jim out of his lockup was completely absurd and hilarious. So where Huck has the smarts and possibly the more complicated character portrait, Tom is more colorful and therefore more entertaining for me as a reader. I haven’t yet read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but I think I’m going to like that one a bit more. 

adventures of huckleberry finn review

I liked it and am glad I read it!

Have you read Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer? What were your thoughts? What classic do you think I should read next? 

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  1. Have read both, and enjoyed both 🙂 I had to read them in school, then read them again years later. I find Huck’s character very interesting, just how he thinks about the world. Tom Sawyer I definitely like better, he does have a bit more pizazz in his personality.

  2. Ah, so I’ve read Huck Finn, but the audiobook I listened to was the Audible one read by Elijah Wood. I thought that was EXCELLENT, and I got way more out of that audiobook than I did from reading hardcopy.

    Once you let go of the idea of a plot, it is rather entertaining. It’s been a couple years, so the name is evading me, but I really like the scene where Huck’s staying with that family whose daughter recently died? It was very morose and reminded me of Oscar Wilde a bit.
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    1. Ooooh I think I’d love to listen to the one with Elijah Wood! Some of the audiobooks that are celebrity-read are really lovely productions. I listened to Matilda narrated by Kate Winslet and it was so wonderful!

  3. I actually read Tom Sawyer as a kid but never read Huck Finn. I wanted to though as the whole floating down the river thing seemed fun and adventurous, and Tom Sawyer WAS pretty good, so I kinda wanted more. I should probably read this one at some point!
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    1. Yes you should read it! It’s not all fun and games, of course, and I think it’s supposed to be more philosophical/serious than Tom Sawyer, but it is still fun. I need to read Tom Sawyer now!