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Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain~★★★★

Author: Mark Twain
Title: The Adventures of Mark Twain
Release Date: Originally released in 1876; this edition was released December 5th, 1996
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "In his introduction, E.L. Doctorow rightly points out that 'ever since its publication in 1876, children have been able to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with a sense of recognition for the feelings of childhood truly rendered: how Tom finds solace for his unjust treatment at the hands of his Aunt Polly by dreaming of running away; or how he loves Becky Thatcher, the sort of simpering little blond girl all boys love, and how he does the absolutely right thing in lying and taking her punishment in school to protect her; or how he and his friends pretend to be pirates or the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest, accurately interrupting their scenarios with arguments about who plays what part and what everyone must say and how they must fight and when they must die.' Tom Sawyer is surely among America's undisputed contributions to the world's cast of unforgettable characters."

Taryn's Review: This book was a little hard for me to get into in the beginning. The chapters are relatively short, butI just wasn't getting interested in the life of Tom. However, after Tom and Huck saw the fight in the cemetery between doctor Muff Potter and Injun Joe, I was hooked.

The vocabulary in the book is quite extensive. I kept a dictionary on hand while reading because I had to look up a few words. I know this book is touted as being for children, but honestly, I cannot imagine many children, let alone adults, who would be able to grasp many of the words used in the book. Also, the book touched on some racial tension and Tom Sawyer used a derogatory word to describe an African-American. The type of discussion that might come out of reading a book like this would be best for very mature children and definitely for older children.

I liked the feeling of going back to a different time period in a world before texting, instant messaging, televisions, cell phones, youtube, and all the things that define the 21st century so far. Tom spent his days using his imagination pretending to be Robin Hood, or he and his friends floated out to an island where they played pirates and had the knowledge to fish and prepared fish over a man-made fire for supper.

Tom also is what many people might call a "bad apple." He made bad choices, disrespected his elders, and got into lots of trouble. Tom was dead-set on becoming a pirate or robber in life and at one point in the book, he even discussed murdering people if ever became a robber. Today, Tom probably would have had to see a psychiatrist and be medicated for such a thought. Twain simply wrote it off as being part of the creative imagination of a child.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, in my opinion, is best suited for adults or very mature children. The vocabulary, the nature of some discussions that Tom had, and some of the occurrences in the book are not appropriate for small children. Tom Sawyer also had a lot of fun, and many of his adventures will make adults and children alike wish they would have got to be in Tom's shoes for a day or two!

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