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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, September 2016 - I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the best things I have ever listened to. Nor would it be dishonest to say that this recording made me fall in love with Twain's classic ode to adolescence all over again. But perhaps the strangest thing, as I keep telling all my friends, is that I completely forgot how truly laugh-out-loud funny this book is. I have the narration to thank for that. Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman is known for playing the quintessential gruff male, but he thoroughly astonishes here, bending his baritone effortlessly to give Twain's characters life. My favorites: the uptight, exhaustive wailing of Aunt Polly; the cracked pleading of drunkard Muff Potter; and, of course, the winking, boyish charm of Tom himself, which Offerman gracefully transforms into tenderness during moments of adolescent melancholy. Which is to say, you can hear Offerman enjoying the reading and loving Twain's characters. It's a book he was meant to read. —Doug, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

"Being paid to perform such a gratifying activity as reading Mark Twain aloud felt powerfully akin to Tom Sawyer hoodwinking other boys into paying him for the privilege of whitewashing a fence. Let's keep that between us." (Narrator Nick Offerman)

With The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, not even Twain could have known that when he introduced readers to the inhabitants of the fictional town of St. Petersburg, Missouri, he would also be introducing two characters - one a clever and mischievous scamp, and the other a carefree, innocent ragamuffin - whose stories would ultimately shape the course of American literature. But whereas its sequel and companion piece, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, would harken an end to childhood, the story of Tom Sawyer is one that depicts the excitement and adventure of boyhood along the Mississippi.

Revisit this enduring classic and you will be struck not only by Twain's skill at capturing a time and place so vividly but also by his uncanny ability to crystallize those oftentimes tumultuous and conflicting emotions that a child experiences at the precipice of adulthood: a longing to be free from the rules and obligations of adults while enjoying the laxity inherent in childhood; a love of all things macabre, like blood oaths, cemetery cures, and haunted houses, that reveal a true innocence - an unawareness of real-life consequences and one's own mortality; and the pangs of guilt when knowing the right thing to do and doing the right thing appear to be at odds.

A natural storyteller and raconteur in his own right - just listen to Paddle Your Own Canoe and Gumption - actor, comedian, carpenter, and all-around manly man Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) brings his distinctive baritone and a fine-tuned comic versatility to Twain's writing. In a knockout performance, he doesn't so much as read Twain's words as he does rejoice in them, delighting in the hijinks of Tom - whom he lovingly refers to as a "great scam artist" and "true American hero" - while deftly delivering the tenderness and care Twain gave to his own characters.

Public Domain (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Offerman's Illinois-raised voice and actor's talent suit him ideally to channel Mark Twain and his archetypal American Puck (that "P" isn't a typo), who played pirates with an archetypal American Huck, conned his pals into whitewashing the fence, fell in love with Becky Thatcher and showed up alive at his own funeral." (The New York Times)
"Nick Offerman reading Tom Sawyer is just as charming as you’d hope." (The Verge)
"There’s something about his wry Midwestern merriment that aspires to Twainishness." (Men’s Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • jb
  • Plano, TX United States
  • 11-10-16

Reading from a new perspective

I don't remember liking Tom Sawyer much as a kid (more of a Huck fan). But now as an adult I realize how rare it is for an author to so accurately capture the way children talk to each other. The one-upsmanship (especially from little boys). The curious things they find valuable. The way that making their first moral choices will way on them. It all rings so accurate, from the view of an adult who still retains the memory of how those things felt.

And really it's just a fun story. The sort of episodic and loopy ways the story is told (where the narrative backtracks on itself as we switch points of view in the same incident) feel surprisingly modern.

The cultural differences (use of the "n" word, etc.) are, to be honest, a little uncomfortable. But for them not to be there would make the storytelling less true, and I think it would be a loss. Also, it's interesting to try to "read" Twain's telling to try to discover where he might have been indicating that, even as he told this story, he knew that the world was changing.

Nick Offerman's reading has a very light touch, differentiating the voices just enough so that it feels like a book and not a radio play (my personal preference). He seems to have a good handle on Twain's humor, and doesn't read like it's some sort of dusty museum piece, and not just a darned good, and darned funny, story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Top 5

In my top five audio books of all time, for the resplendent Twainian wit and deft penchant for adventure prose of course, but also the best new voice in audio books. Nick Offerman brought this old story up to date and lended it new life that had me sitting in my driveway long after I pulled in to finish chapters.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Stop what you are doing!

Nick Offerman was surely born to read this book. Tom Sawyer has been a classic boyhood story for years, and Offerman's performance of it is everything that one could want and more. Nick brings the story to life with unique voices in dialogue, and his own mellow tones for all the other narration make the story move. If you've ever considered reading Tom Sawyer, or have already read it and would like the audiobook, stop what you are doing and get this audible performance.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Justin
  • NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, United States
  • 09-23-16

Adventures of a timeless classic

Nick Offerman delivers this extraordinary adventure with a soothing voice and passion with the words on page. A story delivered as it should be. I highly recommend this.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Fall in Love All Over Again

I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the best things I have ever listened to. Nor would it be dishonest to say that this recording made me fall in love with Twain's classic ode to adolescence all over again. But perhaps the strangest thing, as I keep telling all my friends, is that I completely forgot how truly, laugh-out-loud funny this book is. I have the narration to thank for that reminder. Park and Recreation's Nick Offerman is known for playing the quintessential gruff male, but he thoroughly astonishes here, bending his baritone effortlessly to give Twain's characters life. My favorites: the uptight, exhaustive wailing of Aunt Polly; the cracked pleading of drunkard Muff Potter; and, of course, the winking, boyish charm of Tom himself, which Offerman gracefully transforms into tenderness during moments of adolescent melancholy. Which is to say, you can hear Offerman enjoying the reading and loving its characters.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick
  • Murrieta, CA, United States
  • 01-10-17

Even better as an Adult!

I'm fairly certain this was required reading when I was in high school, and yet what I remember about anything Mark Twain was that it was school work and thus uninteresting, or at least I refused to let it entertain me. As I have with many of the classics which a person may or may not be introduced to in their formidable years, I have now begun a crusade to conquer these tales, or at least allow myself the time to read, and then later admit I found some enjoyment in the title. Tom Sawyer is no exception.

I was excited to see this title on Audible and so I dropped it in my queue thinking that if anything, Nick Offerman's narration would keep my attention, and I'd pick up most of what I forgot as a youth. I made a good choice! From the start, Nick Offerman does what he does best in story telling by relaying this American tale in only a way he can. His voice inflection and character accent is perfect for this work, which (almost) forced me to listen from start to finish. I was entertained from cover to cover only wishing Mr. Offerman read many other titles. I have his personal work in my library (Good Clean Fun, Gumption, Paddle your own Canoe), and hope that he will put pen to paper again, or will pick up another American classic and give us another performance.

Do yourself a favor and add this title to your library along with the titles I've mentioned herein. You'll be glued from start to finish and you may even find a new respect for Mark Twain and his ilk.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Nick Offerman was perfect for this.

I was surprised at how many different voices he had, and how he brought so many characters to life. Good job, Nick.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Perfection

There's a reason Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are classic characters. They're delightful. The choice of Nick Offerman to do the reading is quite simply a move of genius. I listened every spare second and was sad that it had to end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Nostalgia

It was a great adventure to revisit this great American story, by a great American author.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Enchanting

I remember owning a copy of this as a young child, I also remember reading it. What I don't remember and certainly couldn't appreciate is how witty this book is. Mark Twain is an excellent story teller (minus the overt and like mostly unnecessary racism (but I guess that comes with the times)) with an almost whimsical sense of humor.

Nick Offerman did an amazing job, his voice was perfectly suited to it, even if it was a hilarious shock to hear his rendition of Aunt Polly. If you're into the classics I'd recommend it, even if only to hear Nick Offerman's lovely voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben E
  • 02-14-17

a classic for a reason

Would you consider the audio edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to be better than the print version?

nick offermans performance adds a new depth and tone to the book that lets you relax into it and lets it surround you rather than just reading it

Who was your favorite character and why?

tom of course, theres no adventures with out him

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

through out the tale you feel a strong bond to tom and only wish the best for him

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Griffiths
  • 10-16-17

Fine production

Solid performance of Twain's coming of age story. The plot is pretty thin but the whole is elevated by the author's wit.

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 10-16-17

Excellent narration, nice story

Loved the narrator's effort to make it such lively story to listen to. A tale of a young boy, it'll bring back your childhood.

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  • James Corr
  • 09-12-17

Loved it!

Nick Offerman was fantastic in his narration. Revisiting this story on my drive to/from work each day was a pleasure.