The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 28 Feb 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Like many young people, Tom would rather be having fun than going to school and church. This desire to enjoy life is always getting him into trouble, from which he finds unusual and imaginative solutions. One of the great scenes in this book has Tom persuading his friends to help him whitewash a fence by making them think that nothing could be finer than doing his punishment for playing hooky from school. When I first read this story, it opened up my mind to the potential power of persuasion.
Tom also is given up for dead and has the unusual experience of watching his own funeral and hearing what people really thought of him. That's something we all should be able to do. By imagining what people will say at our funeral, we can help establish the purpose of our own lives. Mark Twain has given us a powerful tool for self-examination in this wonderful sequence.
Tom and Huck Finn also witness a murder, and have to decide how to handle the fact that they were not supposed to be there and their fear of retribution from the murderer, Injun Joe.
Girls are a part of Tom's life, and Becky Thatcher and he have a remarkable adventure in a cave with Injun Joe. Any young person will remember the excitement of being near someone they cared about alone in this vignette.
Tom stands for the freedom that the American frontier offered to everyone. His aunt Polly represents the civilizing influence of adults and towns. Twain sets up a rewarding novel that makes us rethink the advantages of both freedom and civilization. In this day of the Internet frontier, this story can still provide valuable lessons about listening to our inner selves and acting on what they have to say. Enjoy looking for fun in new ways!
It draws a picture of a time and place I know little about but seemed utterly convincing and I was really struck by the amount of superstition the characters in the book displayed - adults as well as children. Parts of it reminded me of my own childhood (in Essex - a long way from the Mississippi!), parts of it were very touching and parts of it were laugh out loud funny.
It's a gentle read, and the writing is both stylish and wry. I'm going to re-read Huck Finn as soon as I get time!
I would recommend that children aged 10-13 to read this book. However people younger or older can as easily enjoy it as much as anyone else.
It could be partly cultural. English kids don’t do many American classics at school, well, we certainly didn’t, and although I can relate to 1830s life through other tales,films and programmes, it doesn’t mean I enjoy them. I didn’t feel that Tom’s school adventures were told as well as say, in The Ninja LIbrarian. It was difficult to understand the voices of the characters, the idioms and accents. Maybe because of that, I found it hard to distinguish between the young people. Long passages of dialogue between Tom and Huckleberry Finn, for example, became just dialogue to me with no clear understanding of who was talking.
This changed when Tom went on his adventures. The power of the writing drew you into the scene, the hardships, the danger, imagined or not. Some of Tom’s antics are cringeworthy but eventually he and his friends become embroiled in serious danger, however lightly they started out.
So, do I think The Adventures of Tom Sawyer worthy of its accolades, worthy of being classed as one of the greatest classics? Yes and no. Written in 1876, it is a powerful and evocative telling of an era some thirty or forty years earlier. As a picture of a medium sized town and its characters, as an adventure story, it works and works well. By the time I’d finished it, I was enjoying it. It took me a while, though.
I’m glad I’ve read it, but I don’t think I’d read another.
Now a pensioner and a proud Kindle owner, I have now read it and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I completely disliked the voice and although I stuck with the book, I was desperate for it to end.Published 3 months ago by abby
I wanted to read this as its a classic. I was a bit disappointed in the overall story, and some parts were better than others, but still a good read and I'm glad I've read it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by AmazonBuyerF