A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Just finished this with the kids. I remember reading this with my mother when I was 10. It is a nice generational conveyance. When I was young, the STORIES of Tom and Huck affected me the most. Now, however, it is Twain's language that touches me. I love how Tom's life and play is impacted by the adventure books he reads. One day Tom is animated by a bounty of pirates, the next day by a shadow of robbers, and everyday Tom's vocabulary and actions are endowed with the books of his youth. 'Tom Sawyer' is just as much an ode to his youth as it is a poesy to the adventure books of a more tender age.
"The Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood" wrote Sherman Alexie in a 2011 WSJ post about how trying to protect children from the harsh realities of life is pointless.
This YA novel dances and laughs in the shadows and with ghosts of poverty, loneliness, abuse, alcoholism, depression, racism, etc.. Alexie does his redemptive dance with tears that both salve and baptize the reader. His voice is real. His pain is authentic. His narrator IS hope. This is a book that is built to confront difficult issues, to pour salt and sunshine on wounds that refuse to heal. I don't know how someone can read Alexie and not walk away lifted up.
I also think he narrates the HELL out of this book. I can't imagine anyone else giving this book the same kind of heart and soul. Listening to Alexie read his book was amazing. I kept having to remind myself that Alexie was not Arnold. Sometimes I've wondered if authors would be better off letting pros read their work, but Alexie absolutely demolished that bias.
I have an 11-year0old daughter. So, yeah there is that. Oh, so we have a rule that we read (or in my case listen or read) before we watch (except for voyeurism which makes reading before you watch a tad problematic). Also, we are a family of Green brother nerdfighters, so there is that too.
Perhaps, I should have had my 11-year-old daughter review it and just poach from her (the cost for me buying her the book, buying her movie tickets, indulging her 11-y-o whims and fangirl proclivities).
Oh, and today was a weird day to read the book and watch the movie. A good friend of ours just got diagnosed with 'Butt Cancer'. So, a cancer-rich day indeed.
Quick disclaimer, my reading/listening to John Green novels in no way should suggest I will EVER read 'Divergent'. My reading of contemporary YA fiction is VERY limited. My time on this planet is a short infinity of limited time and will not be filled with vampires, zombies, stormtroopers, or teen-crushes (too often). Well, unless my daughter cries, and then I'll probably just do what she wants.
Also, 'Butt Cancer' friend -- fight hard and fun hard. We are rooting for you.