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Huck Finn: Final Thoughts

Okay, this isn't going to be incredibly thorough. I'm playing catch-up here. I finished The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn two weeks ago and -- due to other writing commitments -- have been unable to write much about my experience reading it.

I agree with the anonymous commenter who said the first 2/3 of it is great. I was enthralled with the voice and loved how ingenious Huck was. His ability to talk his way out of (and into) any situation, taking full advantage of the assumptions made by those around him, was a real treat to read. I could almost feel Twain's joy in the writing.

Once Huck and Jim get caught up with the King and the Duke, the two con men, the whole thing starts to slow. Like (forgive me) a river opening out onto a wide, flat, silty plain.

And that's nothing compared to the final section when Huck pretends to be Tom, and Tom hatches his plan to make Jim's escape as elaborate as possible. The whole thing slowed terribly at that point, and I became quite frustrated with both characters.

Maybe that was the point. Maybe the lesson is that smart people of good intentions hemmed and hawed and dithered as African American slaves sat in chains. I don't know enough about Twain and his views on slavery to know for sure.

But in terms of sheer reading pleasure, the final section didn't live up to the promise of the first two thirds.

Still, a fine book and one I wish I'd read as a kid. I would definitely read more Mark Twain.

Any suggestions for the next one, some day when my Classic Reads year is over? (I've basically read Tom Sawyer, but nothing else.)