I'm not sure how I've managed to have lived on the planet for fifty years without reading anything by Mark Twain. When "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was chosen for my Book Group I was very pleased. Not only had I not read it but I didn't even know what it was about - all I knew was that it is regarded by many as an American classic.
It took me a while to get into the style. It's all written in the vernacular. This is both a strength and weakness. The writing style grated in parts and is especially hard to follow when Jim, the slave, is talking, that said the style makes the book feel very contemporary - far more than any other 19th century novel I've read. Ultimately Huckleberry Finn's world was made wonderfully vivid through his seemingly authentic first person voice.
It's an enjoyable, if rather long, adventure with as many twists and turns as the Mississippi River that features so extensively. The plot appears to be a vehicle for Twain to highlight issues around freedom and slavery. Huckleberry Finn is held captive by his abusive father and, quite understandably, wants to escape to freedom. Jim the slave faces far more serious issues when he tries to escape.
It's a likeable book, and I'm pleased I've finally read it, but I don't fully understand its status as a classic. It's an enjoyable, if rather long and sprawling, yarn. Cleverly written too, however I was bored in places and I wonder if it would be improved by being shorter and more concise. Perhaps, the long journey is part of the appeal, perhaps it has greater resonance for Americans who are closer to the Civil Rights struggles of their country.
Oh, and as someone who enjoys the music of the band The Duke and The King, I was delighted to discover the origins of the band's name.