Ask any person anywhere in the world to give an example of a classic book of US literature and it is a safe bet this one will come out among the top three. The only reason I am going to mention the plot for such famous book is the fact that I always do it; I am not breaking my own tradition in this case. So an orphan boy and a runaway slave travel together in Southern US. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was gradual change in Huck's attitude towards Jim: he stops regarding the latter as a slave and starts thinking about him as an equal human being.
There is an obvious anti-racist message in the book. It also happens to have very funny laugh-out-loud moments. It also contains satirical depiction of some aspects of life in small US cities in the early nineteenth century. It contains some very poetic descriptions at times. It also has some sad moments. It is a classic book which is also still fun to read unlike numerous classics I can think of. This is a book which teaches important lessons while still remembering that reading can be fun.
The book is written in the first person vernacular. This is really the only
example I can think of where it works. It took a genius of Mark Twain to pull it off successfully. If an inspiring author who thinks about using first (or third) person vernacular stumbles upon my review my advice would be - do not, unless you think your writing talent is on the same level as that of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
The author wrote the novel in such a way that it became controversial countless number of times resulting in its banning it from public libraries and censorship. One would think people would get over these controversies by now, but to nobody's surprise some people still find things in the book to be offended at, just take a look at the latest example: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2011/01/04/132652272/new-edition-of-huckleberry-finn-will-eliminate-offensive-words?ft=1
I will try to explain to the easily offended hypocrites why they are wrong in the least brain taxing way possible using simple ASCII art:
You missed the point by one mile!!!
Point -----------> .
You ---------> _|_/
This gives me an excellent opportunity to talk about limited copyright terms (it seems to me we are heading for unlimited extension of copyright). Limited copyright term means that regardless of current political climate and resulting censorship we will always have access to a legal
unaltered copy of the book as in this case: public wins.
A lot of people do not appreciate the book because they were forced to read it in high school. If this was your only reading by all means give it another try to get a fresh prospective.
In conclusion this novel belongs to a relatively rare category of classics consisting of books that do not feel like you do heavy manual labor while you read them. My rating is 4.5 stars rounded up out of my deepest respect for it.
P.S. The original illustrations are excellent.
P.P.S. Project Gutenberg has a copy with original illustrations.