(P)1995 by The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.
I don't know how I never read this as a child, but it was worth the wait. I enjoyed the colorful and imaginative experiences the explored
Great book, great narration! In the beginning, I feared that the somewhat antiquated American language would turn the kids off, but they quickly got used to it, and now both author and narrator have a 55-year-old woman and 12- and 9-year-old boys hanging on their every word. Warning to parents: The N-word is used frequently, but it belongs to the book, and I think adults should explain to the kids that people used that word back then--my kids were a little shocked (especially since we had talked about Don Imus and his racial slurs) until I explained it to them. It's a good opportunity to show how attitudes change, and that people who held such attitudes back then shouldn't be judged according to our 21st-century views. And it's also a good opportunity to show what doesn't change: children's scrapes and silliness, playing hooky, human degradation and human kindness.
I'm writing this before we've gotten to the part where the boys go downriver with Jim--I can hardly wait to see how the boys react to that, but I wanted to take this opportunity to go ahead and praise this audiobook.
Patrick Fraley has Mark Twain's wit and style down to a tee! He brought the characters to life. I felt like I was at the theater, listening to a narrator between scenes. I enjoyed this one so much I am getting his version of Huckleberry Finn.
The book itself is, of course, a true classic and a great read. I found it especially interesting to contrast the character of "Tom" with today's children, and our "ritalin epidemic." Tom was misunderstood by the common society and adults of his time, and based on how we treat modern children with similar characteristics as Tom, clearly we still haven't figured him out.
The narrator was neither exceptional nor horrible; he did an acceptable job. I would be interested to compare this reading to others, as there are apparently quite a few available.
Wow. This was brilliantly written from beginning to end. One of the most enjoyable books I've read in ages. Mark Twain is a true master of the English language and the craft of storytelling. The characters were consistently written and amusing to watch. He can wring humor from small turns of phrase and loads his writing with irony. Some of the funniest scenes were detailed descriptions of mundane things that every reader can relate to.
I thought the narrator did a terrific job. His was not just narration -- it was a vocal performance. His voice for Aunt Polly wasn't too convincing, but male narrators never do women well. Aunt Polly wasn't in much of the book past the first few chapters anyway. His other voices were excellent.
I'm glad we got Huck Fin first as if this was the first one we got, I doubt we would have bothered. Get Huck Fin - skip this one.
This is probably the worst audiobook I've ever listened to. While some of the voices were pretty good, (I rather liked Aunt Polly and Tom's voices,) I never would have immagined that anyone would render Huck's voice to be so winy, or Becky's voice to be so "breathy". The voices simply did not fit the characters. I'm sure Samuel Clemens was not intending the independent, free spirit of Huck to viewed as a wimpering coward. But this reading will leave that impression. I'd rather just read this book to myself than listen to the audio.
The narrator is a well-known (in the voice business, anyway) voice actor who's done a lot of cartoon work. The effort involved in keeping the story clear to follow and engaging without the benefit of a lot of "speech tags" (i.e., "Tom said", "Becky said") is not inconsiderable-- there's a reason the narrator is so well-respected. I really did enjoy his performances, though I do think they lacked drama in some places.
It's definitely worth listening to if you have an appreciation for good acting work (especially voice acting)-- others may prefer a more conventional read.
Patrick Fraley is a master story teller and really does bring the characters distinctly to life. Kids will be entrances. There's a reading by him of Huck Finn as well which is just as good and highly recommended.
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