After reading the selections from Life on the Mississippi, I couldn't help but feel a little confused and let down. From our past readings, I had begun to appreciate Twain and his style of humor more and more only to be surprised by what I feel is a surprisingly dull book with nothing to really laugh out loud about. .
From the get go, I was expecting something more like The Innocents Abroad, or Huck Finn; what I got was facts, followed by boring recollections, toped off with more facts. If I was looking forward to reading this book from a historical sense, and had I been in the proper mind state, I might be able to say that I enjoyed it on some level, but because I had my expectations set on humor and some good, quick witted ribbings my opinion of this book found itself falling as the page numbers increased.
Now I don't want to outright bash the book and say it was no good, I simply want to say that I was caught off guard by its straightforwardness. I would compare it to this scenario. Take a master photographer like Anne Geddies, an artist who's work is almost entirely children. If she was to take a photograph of a dying elderly man, no matter how esthetically perfect and pleasing it is to the photographic community, I still wouldn't fit in the description of what is expected of her even though the work was done with the same skill and attention. One passage that illustrates my point perfectly is the beautiful description of the river captures in beautifully graphic detail. Twain speaks of what he sees as the natural beauty of the river and then goes beyond to speak about the underlying scientific values of such sights. The Twain that I enjoy reading is not the kind of guy who gets sentimental about such things, but makes fun of the guy who is sentimental of such things. .
There are some points in Life on the Mississippi that, to me, stand out where twain tried to make the book more attractive to the skeptical Twain reader.