Monday, July 1, 2019

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (novel #130)

Who knows, he may grow up to be President someday, unless they hang him first! ~ Aunt Polly regarding Tom

I read this as part of the Back to the Classics Challenge 2019: A Classic from the Americas. 

Well, you don’t get much more classic, nor more American than Tom Sawyer.

As I did in my review of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I will refer to the novels as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and the characters themselves as Tom and Huck.

Tom Sawyer comes before (not properly called a prequel) Huckleberry Finn. I think Huckleberry Finn is considered Twain’s greater work, but not for me. I enjoy both, but if forced to choose, I like Tom Sawyer better.

It’s more fun. Huckleberry Finn is fun – but it’s also important. Tom Sawyer is just fun. And once in a while, “just fun” is better than fun and important.

If that doesn’t make sense – I sort of feel sorry for you.

Another reason I like it so much: I identify with Tom much more than Huck. I lived a pretty carefree, barefoot in summer, fishing, swimming, and playing cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, or soldier, much like Tom. Like Tom, and unlike Huck, I was also loved and nurtured.

Tom is a wild, mischievous, but good at heart boy growing up along the banks of the Mississippi River in the 1840s. I don’t believe Twain ever gives his age, or grade. My guess is about 12.

And, did I mention this? It’s just loads of fun. Tom has adventures with his friends Joe Harper and Huck Finn, he falls in love with Becky Thatcher, blows it by being a jerk, then redeems himself by taking blame, and a whipping, for Becky. He runs away and becomes a pirate, witnesses a murder, saves a convicted criminal, finds stolen treasure, and attends his own funeral.

What fun.

I know; there are some who think this book is inappropriate today. I understand and I disagree.

This at least the third time I’ve read Tom Sawyer. It doesn’t get old. Well, I mean it is old, but I don’t get tired of it.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“What's your name?"
"Becky Thatcher. What's yours? Oh, I know. It's Thomas Sawyer."
"That's the name they lick me by. I'm Tom when I'm good. You call me Tom, will you?"



  1. Thanks for this review. I've been wondering whether to read Twain's pair of American boy novels. Being an Aussie, they were never set on our school curriculum. I think I will read them. And I totally get your reason for preferring Tom Sawyer. We really do need fun reads!

    1. I love em both, and think they'll be pretty relatable down under.

  2. I get it! "Fun and important"...vs "just fun!" I agree, too. Tom Sawyer is plain adventure. But I think I like Huckbleberry Finn a little more because it presents great arguments and themes.

    That little town of Hannibal on the Mississippi, where Twain grew up, has the spirit of Tom and Huck all over it. From the fence where they paint to the island they explore to the cave where they get lost. It all came alive for me. I can't wait to visit both novels again, one of these days.

    1. Yep...always worth a revisit. I was surprised how much I'd forgotten of them over the years.


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