"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.
"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)
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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.
"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.
"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.
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.
What a glorious pleasure to listen to a perfect performance of one of Mark Twain's best.
"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.
Who better than Nick Offerman to tell the story of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn?
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.
It was a great adventure to revisit this great American story, by a great American author.
"Brilliant in every way!"
Nick Offerman does this classic tome more than justice. He's the perfect match for Twain's wit and boyhood tales. I hope he'll tackle anothern'.
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