Illustrated London News [unsigned]
1876: June 24

"Mark Twain" has dropped the humorous exaggerations of his "Jumping Frog" and "Innocents Abroad" in his fresh and racy story of Tom Sawyer (Chatto and Windus). "Although," writes this popular American humorist in his preface, "my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls, I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account; for part of my plan has been to try to write pleasantly, to remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in." So very human is "Tom Sawyer" in its faithful delineation of boy-life that it cannot fail to realize the hope of "Mark Twain," and amuse everyone who in the words of the song, "would" he "were a boy again." All the love of mischief, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, foolhardy pranks and acts of bravery that make Tom Sawyer stand out as a veritable portrait from the life are set down by Mr. Clemens with unfailing fidelity to nature; and that element of adventure so dear to boys is supplied in a manner to satisfy the appetite for the strangest sensational fare. It is the faithful portrayal of boy-life, however--not the midnight murder in a churchyard of which Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are eye-witnesses, nor the piratical venture of Tom and his mates, nor even the wanderings of Tom and his sweetheart whilst lost in the cave--that makes "Mark Twain's" last volume so welcome, and that will, doubtless, win for him even a wider circle of readers that he has at present.

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