It must have been something for that child in 1876 to have the as of yet unread Mark Twains `Tom Sawyer´ in their grasp. That book that would validate their world, their language, and their imaginations, and was eager to share its secrets with the uncorrupted mind of the primal child.
A very good persuader of his fellow boy, it seems that Tom has a possible future as a congressman or a lawyer, when at the last moment he reveals his nobleness and strength of character, proving the assumption unsound. That we don’t know what became of Toms parents, or why the issue is never brought up is curious, thought it may be that to clutter such great adventures with such a delicate topic may prove to be a clutter too much.
Wether it was the chosen ‘unsavoury’ dialect, or that his previous works were for a more mature audience, Tom Sawyer attracted a lot of attention and less than positive critique, perhaps it was the case that the critics du jour couldn’t appreciate Toms adventures as thoroughly as those whom could more easily identify with the central protagonists. Not that it was solely intended for children, though to approach it with the stiffness of an adult is an erroneous approach.
Before iPads and Gameboys infested the landscape, books were held with infinitely greater regard than they are today. As those devices haven’t, can’t, take any value away from a classic, it is only for them to quietly await our wake from slumber and return to the gift of classic literature. Like all great writers, Samuel L Clemens had a sound intellect not diminished by an exaggerated sense of self worth, a value that supported his aptitude as an often comical writer.
As my first Mark Twain book, Tom sawyer helps me to understand why his legacy lives, 150 years later. Unbridled youth having adventures in actuality, rather than elaborately choreographed games of fantasy, must have been a sound to behold for Tom Sawyers first readers. Though the vernacular required a little slower reading, it is a great read with a interesting view of a boys life in the 1870´s.