I read this book in high school over 30 years ago, then faked it twice more in college. I didn’t like it much in high school. The main thing I remembered was hating the ending.
This time, I was really enjoying the beginning of the book as Huck escaped his Pap, found Jim, and together they were idling down the Mississippi River. Then the King and Duke showed up, and that part dragged it down, just as I remembered it had the first time I read it.
Then Huck coincidentally arrived at Tom Sawyer’s aunt and uncle’s house a couple of days before Tom himself showed up. That struck me as too convenient when I was a teenager, and it still does today.
But it’s when Tom himself does show up that I really just wanted the book to be finished. Tom Sawyer is a despicable character in this novel, putting Jim through way too much torment before … before the end.
I remembered the book used the word “nigger” quite a bit, but I didn’t remember it being as much as it actually is. I’m no social justice warrior by any stretch, but sometimes the use really did seem gratuitous. I was also disappointed that Huck never came to accept Jim as a human being; the best he could do was accept him as a nigger with a good heart. I thought he did more than that, and I wish he had. Jim was definitely the most interesting character in the novel.
It’s a classic. Every American, at least, should be familiar with it. However, I thought it was overrated 30-some years ago and I pretty much still do.