Friday, June 7, 2013

The Trouble Begins at 8

This is a rollicking, fun biography of Mark Twain, focusing primarily on the time he spent in Nevada, California and Hawaii.  Fleischman has a great way of writing, and his tone is very well-suited to Twain’s story.  He is pretty careful to point out where there are questions about Twain’s claims, which there are many.  He doesn’t necessarily dispute what Twain says, but he does include quotes from Mark Twain about telling the truth.  I took a class on Mark Twain in graduate school, and I don’t remember much of this information about Mark Twain and his life, but I found it very interesting.  One of the things I found so interesting about his biography was how many get-rich-quick schemes he and his brother were involved in, including mining, a newspaper, and other ideas that lost them both money (of course).   Life then was all about money, how to earn it and stay afloat.  The back matter is very rich, including an excerpt from The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, a timeline of Clemens’ life, references (one of my favorite things for encouraging additional research), and an annotated bibliography.  This book tied in so nicely with the review I did a few weeks ago of Bambino and Mr. Twain - the events of that book happen later in Twain's life.   This was a surprisingly quick read for a biography, and made me want to read more Twain.  On to the next book!

The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West - Sid Fleischman.  Greenwillow Books, 2008.

borrowed from Lewis & Clark Library

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds really interesting, and it is by Sid Fleischman. I'm adding this to my post-48hbc TBR list!

    Your kids' "names": from Bread and Jam for Frances?! That can't be a coincidence, and that is awesome!