Creativity Magazine

James--A Welcome Re-telling of an American Classic

By Vickilane


James--A Welcome Re-telling of an American Classic
When I was young, my grandmother read Tom Sawyer to me, both of us laughing aloud at Tom's antics. As I grew older, I reread it many times, delighting in the humor. Eventually I read Huck Finn and enjoyed it, though maybe not as much.

By the time I was in college, Huck Finn was touted as a classic of American Fiction, and I read it again, paying attention to the image of the river, the picaresque journey, the vignettes of Southern society, and Huck's redeeming change of heart when he decides he'll help Jim escape, at the risk of going to hell for stealing the Widder's property. Wow, I thought, how radical for the time and place.Then I re-read Huck a few years ago. What leapt out at me this time was the portrayal of Jim as ignorant, superstitious, and, ultimately, an ill-used plaything for Tom Sawyer's fantasies. It was appalling.Now, with Perceval Everett's magnificent re-imagining of the novel, Jim, now James, has a voice. And what a voice it is! It has taken away the unpleasant taste left by my last reading of Huck. I can't recommend this novel highly enough.Let me direct you to the excellent review that hooked me HERE

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