This was another book that I read when I was younger but hardly remembered. It is meant as a children’s book, but is rather more adult and gritty in tone as it deals with Huckleberry Finn running away from his alcoholic father.
He joins up with an escaped black slave called Jim, and this leads to an occasionally shocking, but very real, portrayal of how minorities were treated in the period when this book was set (he talks about everyone getting their own slave to wait on them at one point); the book also talks about their encounter with two hustlers – “The King” and “The Duke”.
Tom Sawyer does not appear a lot in this book, until he returns towards the end, and the story is narrated by Huck, and is written in his dialect, as well as including Jim’s dialect, making the book a bit hard to follow at times, but it was not difficult to get the hang of and adds to the realism. I wasn’t entirely sure what Mark Twain’s view of slavery was, since there is not a large amount of social commentary (unlike Uncle Tom’s Cabin), but I liked the fact that Tom and Huck supported Jim’s bid for freedom.
Some people may be shocked by the large amount of very racist language used in this book, but overall it was very enjoyable and made for a worthy sequel to Tom Sawyer.
Next book: The Final Problem and Other Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle