The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
performed by Elijah Wood
Purchase from Audible
I grew up reading this book and whether you like it or not, whether it makes you uncomfortable or not, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remains a time-honored classic. So for the sake of space, this is a review of the audio book only, whether the story was captured in a compelling way or not.
If, like me, you love the 1993 film version of this story that stars Elijah Wood, well, needless to say this audio book PERFORMED by him should make you positively giddy. Which it definitely did me when I ran across it by accident while browsing Audible the other day. My eyes just about bugged out of my head like a stomped on bullfrog. Now where is that quote from because I know it's from somewhere?! Now I'll be up all night trying to remember!
To be totally and completely fair, I wasn't sure what to expect. Yes, Elijah made a terrific Huck. When he was 12. I didn't really have that much confidence that he would be able to recreate the character he portrayed so vividly when he was a boy. And even if he was able to recreate being Huckleberry Finn, what about all the other voices and local syntax that Mark Twain just LOVED using in his stories? Could he master every single voice and make it unique? I just wasn't sure about his skill set.
My doubt in his voice performance was UNJUSTIFIED! To the max!
What makes an audio book narrator a cut above the rest? Performing convincingly as uniquely individual characters within a story. Somewhere about 1/3 through the story, I forgot that it was Elijah voicing Jim. Because he became Jim. Just as he became Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer and his deadbeat father and every other single character you mean along the way including the King and the Duke.
I've never before encountered a reading of such a complex book that was so completely easy to follow. There were perhaps a few times at the slow parts where I think Elijah may have been wearing down a tad, but he gained energy again and those brief moments of lost connection were soon forgotten.
There is a good chance that this reading will become the quintessential audio book performance of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. My one regret is that I didn't find out about it until just NOW. I could have been loving Lij's narration for years! Now comes the hope, albeit dim, that he may take to performing other audio books. Who knew he was so well suited for the job? ❤