“Ah, if only he could die temporarily!” …that’s the kind of humour you get from reading Twain’s books. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is about a young boy named Tom who, despite his mischievous nature, is able to prove his core values of friendship, imagination, and loyalty. Tom and his friend Huckleberry Finn find treasure in an old, abandoned haunted house while exploring one night, and what’s more, a criminal on-the-loose is after it! In this book, we get dragged into the world of Tom and his friends, and follow them as they witness are forced to trust their instincts to get themselves out of danger. Twain’s way of writing is very realistic, and he’s known for his works in children’s literature.
This novel follows the life of young Tom, who lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother Sid, along the Mississippi River. Tom struggles with and pulls through his boredom of going to school, attending church, and white-washing fences. He lives a regular life, and spends his days playing make believe and hoping for an adventure. But everything changes one night, when Tom and Huckleberry Finn arrive at a graveyard, where they hear footsteps and soft whispers. A shimmer of the moonlight reflecting off the knife, and a splash of blood later, the boys realize that Dr. Robinson was murdered, right in front of their eyes. After that, Twain hurls us into the second half of the book, where serious action takes place, dark secrets are uncovered, and promises are broken.
I appreciate the amount of daring Mark Twain pumped into Tom. It was this bit of daring that prompted Tom to go on all sorts of adventures and learn to feel emotions towards other people, all the while maturing and growing up. One particular line in the preface intrigued me, and it stuck around in my head while reading the book. The author states, “Huck Finn is drawn from life; Tom Sawyer also, but not from an individual — he is a combination of the characteristics of three boys whom I knew” (1). I really liked how Twain incorporated the characteristics and personalities of three boys around Tom’s age, because I feel that it makes the character even more “round” and realistic. Twain uses his words cleverly, and he always manages to paint a lively image in the reader’s head.
All this being said, the book was a bit odd in pacing. The first half dragged a little bit, and there really wasn’t much happening. I’m not saying that it was painfully boring, but certainly quite dull, and then, all of sudden you get thrown into the second half of the plotline where all the events kind of get crammed together. I happened to enjoy the sudden speed-up, but it’s not usually something that happens in other books, so it’s a bit hard to get used to.
Overall, I think “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is a must-read because it’s such a classic, and if historical fiction is your thing, definitely opt to read this book. I say historical fiction because the book clearly doesn’t have a single mention of fire-breathing dragons, princesses who turn into toads, or real-life mermaids, which, you know, are things you might find in popular books today. (dunno if you got that, but it was supposed to be a joke) Anyways, this book I would, without any hesitation, recommend to fans of Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens. So in conclusion? READ THE BOOK! 4.5 out of 5 stars.