First published in 1876 the prankster by the name of Tom Sawyer still rings true as he cons his way out of odd jobs, falls in love, breaks his heart, and runs off to be missed and believed dead.
Mark Twain has a perceptive eye for the human condition that few can boast in this day and age. His character Tom Sawyer, who lives with his Aunt Polly, is seen as the less-than-perfect boy especially when held up against his cousin Sid. It's Tom who is accused of every broken cup and missing item and it's Tom who is sentenced to paint, or whitewash the picket fence outside the house as his punishment.
but Tom is a wise student of humanity and even at his young age has figured out that to get a boy to want to do something you have to tell him he can't. Using brilliant psychology, Tom talks each boy in turn into giving up a treasure to buy for the chance to paint the fence white. As the day goes along, Tom accumulates a dead skunk on a string, some new marbles and a veritable treasure chest of valuable gifts.
They all prove worthwhile when he marches into church on Sunday morning and trades the treasures in for tickets toward winning a free Bible. This future con man can see one step ahead of everyone and uses his skill to advantage.
But fate deals him an unexpected blow when he spies a sweet young lady with two yellow braids and his heart is instantly lost. So, too are all feelings for an memories of one Amy Lawrence, his previous engagee.
Adventures are waiting for Tom though as he and his devoted teammates, Huck and Joe, come together to run away thereby inspiring great guilt in those left behind who had never fully appreciated these boys.
The pace rises and falls as Tom finds himself sometimes holding fate by the tail and sometimes being tossed around like a pirate ship on the high seas.
This is a wondrous conflagration of humor, deep insight, all too familiar self-pity, young love, loyalty and murder. Truly this book was crafted in a time when authors studied human beings and styles of living and understood the little moves and tweaks that make a picture full. For all readers who adore seeing below the surface of people and their antics, this is a brilliant adventure reading almost like a collection of short stories.
Will Tom find happiness in love? Will Aunt Polly ever see beyond the woold being pulled over her eyes? Will the jury convict the wrong man? Is Tom in danger because of what he has seen and knows? Will the world take the stuffing out of Tom and friends? Or will Tom prove ever resilient and filled with sass and spit?
288 pages Ages 9-13 978-1481403771