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The townspeople of  Mark Twain's fictional St. Petersburg, Missouri, " talked back" during a Big Read event hosted by Satsuma Public Library. Satsuma is one of the many libraries participating in Alabama's statewide read of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Photo courtesy of Mary Ann Gantt

Reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as a child, I could not get enough of Tom. His hijinks were such a gas, and his robust personality kept me in awe. Re-reading the book as an adult, however, I wanted to strangle the kid. How did Aunt Polly and the people of St. Petersburg put up with him?

I was excited to hear about The Big Read of Tom Sawyer in Satsuma, Alabama.  In an event dubbed the ?Mark Twain Twitter,? the "characters" gave their take on Tom and the novel. Judge Thatcher, Reverend Sprague, Aunt Polly, even Mark Twain---they all opened up about Tom.

I had a couple questions I wanted answered, so I contacted Cindy Ingram, the Satsuma Public Library Director. Since The Big Read ?was the best thing that ever happened in this city,? Ingram was glad to pass my questions along to the good folks of St. Petersburg.

What do you think Tom Sawyer will do when he grows up?

Huckleberry Finn: Well I don?t know what Tom Sawyer is going to be, but, in 25 years when we come back to dig up the time capsule, I?m going to be the Mayor of Satsuma.

Reverend Sprague: With his mischievous gift of persuasion, I believe Tom will gain recognition as an important political figure in both the State of Missouri and the national political scene.

Aunt Polly: With his ability to persuade, Tom Sawyer will, no doubt, do exactly as Mark Twain suggested in the book---become the President of the United States.

Widow Douglas: I think Tom will be very successful using his wit to make a lot of money. I believe he will be fun-loving and the life of the party with many girlfriends.  He will eventually settle down, get married, and have a son just like him who will drive him crazy.

Judge Thatcher: Tom Sawyer is destined to become a television writer/producer; his ability to manipulate situations along with his charming way of convincing others to follow him is exactly what this industry needs. Tom may do well to look into the little city in North Carolina called Mayberry to study the local folks to produce a new mini-series.

Do you have any advice for Aunt Polly?

Reverend Sprague: My advice for Aunt Polly would be---just do the best you can.

Widow Douglas: I would tell Aunt Polly she deserves to pamper herself with a manicure and pedicure and sit on the porch and drink lemonade.

Judge Thatcher: Aunt Polly would do well to manage her own affairs a little closer; if she?s not careful she could ensure herself a retirement spot in the local senior?s home with semiannual visits from those who watch over her.

Amy Lawrence: My advice to Aunt Polly is to lock Tom in the bathroom and make him take a bath.  Then Aunt Polly should take a vacation from all her children.

Tom Sawyer: I think Aunt Polly should cut me a little slack and pay more attention to what Sid does to me.  Don?t just jump on the bandwagon.

To catch up with Tom and the other good and not-so-good citizens of St. Petersburg , just check The Big Read calendar to see who's reading, discussing, and celebrating Mark Twain and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer near you.

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