I don’t recall enjoying The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
when they were forced upon me at the ripe old age of 14. I don’t remember laughing out loud or even thinking that Twain was a particularly funny guy. Actually, I don’t recall ever reading them at all, though I know that I must have what with the 12 years of American school and the degree in English literature.
Rewind one year. A friend gives me A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain. I attempt to read it. I fail. I attempt again. I make it almost to the end of the first chapter. Fast forward back to now. Someone offers to pay me to read it, and I manage it in a few long and grueling weeks.
Painful first chapter and grueling epic satirical nonsense aside, I’d recommend A Tramp Abroad for one important reason: after the first few chapters it’s brimming with the kind of mean-hearted, cynical humor that only a chain-smoking nihilist could love. It’s morbid, and sarcastic, and includes heaps of jokes about the sudden and satisfyingly painful death of tourists and small children.
Read my (edited, eHEM) review on Brave New Traveler.