Originally published in 1876
Synopsis: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a classic American tale of childhood in the mid-1800s. Tom Sawyer is mischievous, wily, he skips school and he sneaks out of the house at night. The story follows Tom and his friends through one adventure after another. The most serious adventure occured when Tom and his friend Huck witnessed a murder.
The Book Group at the Library read and discussed this book as part of The Big Read of Sonoma County (California). People of all ages throughout the county read the book during the month of April. There were also special events coordinated with the Big Read. The cutest idea, I thought, was the “Act Like a Pirate” event at one of the library branches. School-age children could learn to talk and dress like a pirate and learn to find buried treasure. I know All-Area-Reads are popular in various parts of the country. In my opinion, it’s a super idea.
The book group I’ve joined meets on a weekday afternoon so the age of the group is similar to mine. Every single person in our twelve-person discussion group had read this book as a child. And almost all of us had fond memories of it. When it came to re-reading the book, all but the men agreed it was disappointing to read as an adult.
The prize was delivered to Tom with as much effusion as the superintendent could pump up under the circumstances; but it lacked somewhat of the true gush, for the poor fellow’s instinct taught him that there was a mystery here that could not well bear the light, perhaps, it was simply preposterous that this boy had warehoused two thousand sheaves of Scriptural wisdom on his premises – a dozen would strain his capacity, without a doubt.
I asked if today’s children would be able to read and identify with the characters. The reading is a little tough, but we all felt that children today still have plenty of imagination. We thought they would love the part about the pirates. There are issues in this classic that would make for a great discussion between children and parents and/or teachers. [We read the unabridged version and recommend that for children as well as adults.]
Overall, it was a good re-read and a good discussion book, even for “mature” adults. If you’re looking for a classic for your book group, give this one a try.