Friday, August 29, 2008

The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West

The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West
by Sid Fleischman
Greenwillow Books
224 pages

Here, in high style, is the story of a wisecracking adventurer who came of age in the untamed West. A rebel who surprised himself by becoming the most famous American of his time.


Heather said...

From the Mock Newbery comments:

While I appreciate the Twain feeling of the text, I found Fleischman's attempts at wit to be confusing. I often had to re-read passages to interpret the meaning.

It was also difficult at times to understand which of Twain's works he was referring to and why as they were mentioned in passing before being discussed in depth.

JL said...

Fleischman not only captures Twain's humor, but creates a vivid picture of Twain's personal challenges, friendships, adventures, and disappointments. This, to me, is more important than absolute clarity regarding to which books or stories he is referring at every point. For those of us who have read Twain extensively this might be more irksome than for young adults who may have read Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn only. What is important is that Fleischman helps provide the Civil War and western contex as well as cultural context for the writing of the books.

Jessica said...

I also was confused by the time line. The pictures messed me up and I often had to back track to take a look at the pictures.
My biggest concern is the intended audience. I feel that as a college student, it was a lot for me to take in about Twain. This would be a lot for a middle schooler or junior high student.
This did offer lots of fun information about Twain's life and the lifestyle of the West exploration.
I would enjoy reading other biographies that had a similar amount of interesting information with a different format.

Michael said...

I enjoyed the fact that Fleischman gives a history lesson based on Twain's life. It was nice to see a biography as interesting as this piece of literature. I also liked the pictures, real and drawn, of Mark Twain and his adventures.