The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, is clearly a well-known book. Because it is was published in the late 1800s, I was initially concerned that it would be just another boring, stereotypical “classic”; I’m sure I’m not alone in sometimes fearing the word classic when it comes to literature. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the novel is not as dull as I had assumed, and although it is by no means a suspenseful thriller, it deserves every bit of recognition it has received.
Although Tom is not unusually rebellious for a boy who is 12 years old, he is frequently involved in a variety of ridiculous adventures, none of which lasts very long. For example, he decides one day to run away forever and live the life of a pirate. After a few days, he quickly grows homesick and returns home, but to cover up his “lack of courage,” he fakes his death and shows up to his own funeral. Therefore, a better word to describe him than fearless would be mischievous or simply adventurous.
Before reading the book, I did not realize that Tom has such an involved love life with a girl named Becky Thatcher. The two of them kiss, fight, and out of anger seek revenge on each other. Don’t worry, they get back together, but not after some serious prepubescent drama. At times I couldn’t help but think, “They are only in elementary school!”, and I was occasionally tempted to dispose of the novel in the nearest garbage receptacle. On a more serious note, I truly think that Tom and Becky’s childish romance makes the book more interesting, because I really would get rid of the book if it only consisted of Tom’s imaginary adventures. Seriously, how long can a normal person stand to read about twelve-year-old Tom’s pirate escapades? For the story to be balanced, there needs to be a mix of adventure and daily life, and I think Mark Twain achieves a fantastic balance between the two. Without characters like Becky the novel wouldn’t be as great. Through Tom’s interactions with the many diverse characters of the book, Twain reveals how human Tom is and that he is not just an annoying troublemaker. By the end of the story, I came to respect Tom, which I would not have anticipated before I read the novel.
There is a reason that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is timeless. It has an amazing variety of characters, an interesting plot, and is all in all a relatable and well-written book. Furthermore, it conveys many moral lessons, both through Twain’s witty asides, and also in more subtle ways that require a mature reader to uncover. As a whole, the novel should appeal to any audience because it is filled to the brim with adventure for children and it includes the great characters and humor of Mark Twain for adult readers to enjoy. For those of you who haven’t yet read it, I definitely recommend that you add this classic to your reading list.