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Day 3: ”book that made you laugh out loud”

So, this post refers back to this list. Today, I write about a book that made me laugh out loud!

I just have to say that this was a difficult one to answer, many books have humour as a underlying mood feature, but there is one very recent novel that strikes my mind:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Mark Twain

Most of you have probably heard of an know the general tale of Tom Sawyer – a young boy, 19th century, America, pranks, mischiefs, and shenanigans in their hundreds (more or less…). I actually wrote about a specific passage in the novel that I found very amusing earlier this summer, but I can describe it yo you again.

At one point, early in the novel, (spoiler alert) Tom has traded different artefacts for a number of tickets. These tickets are given to the best pupils in the Sunday School by the teacher, and after a certain number of tickets have been acquired, they can be traded for a shining new Bible. One day, he sees his new love, Becky Thatcher, walk in with her family and her father is to oversee the lessons. So, Tom shrewdly announces that he has the number of tickets required to get the Bible – anything to impress his love – and walks up to receive honour, recognition, and to him very unusual praise. Up at the front, he is surely praised for his hard work by Becky’s father. However, Becky’s father asks Tom to mention the two first disciples. Tom panics; the awkward silence makes him even more nervous, and an agog silence overtakes the room. Finally, in front of the whole class, teacher, and Becky and her family, he shouts out:

David and Goliat!”

That passage made me laugh out loud at the train, rather embarrassingly, but I hope people understood the link between my laugh out of nowhere and the book in my hands.

Overall, it is a very cheerful book, loaded with all sort of tricks that children play on each other and especially on adults, just ask Aunt Polly. There is a certain childish mood over the whole story, and Twain masters the art of making adults remind themselves about being children.

The David and Goliat passage is the one thing that makes this novel my choice of the day, but the novel in itself is very funny and makes you happy as well!

***

Close calls:

The Hobbit – JJR Tolkien’s less serious novel, the book that de facto starts the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is full of playful language and scenes, a more child-friendly story than the three that follow.
Half of a Yellow Sun (which I finished today!) – throughout a very subtle humour creates a sharp contrast to the horrors of the Biafran War (1967-70), and the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie most often uses sexuality to make the reader blush in a nervous, red-faced expression of ‘been there, done that!’

Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare!) – ”Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” ”I do bite my thumb.” ”But do you bite your thumb at us, sir?”, Shakespearean witty jocosity mixed with the thrill of conflict not only creates suspense, but also acts as yet another contrast in the black-and-white life that characterises the Montague-Capulet feud.

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Ken Kesey) – never made me laugh out loud, but the character Randle Patrick McMurphy’s constant challenging of the mental institution run by Nurse Ratched indeed lies in between what is sane and what is comical; the balance makes the atmosphere vibrant, setting the storyline up for further suspense.

David Copperfield (Charles Dickens) – albeit a bildungsroman in its very most serious form, the life through which a young David sees the world and the happenings at times gives the reader a fun read. The oh how famous donkey scene at Aunt Betsy Trootwood’s house makes the reading lighter, perhaps needed to not just cry over the sad events in the young boy’s life.

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