The Adventures of Tom Sawyer : Twain's Tom and Huck

  • by Mark Twain
  • Narrated by Nick Offerman
  • Series: Twain's Tom and Huck
  • 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Audible Editor 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

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What the Critics Say

"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Brad

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.
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- jb

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-20-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios