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THE TROUBLE BEGINS AT 8 by Sid Fleischman Kirkus Star


A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West

by Sid Fleischman

Pub Date: July 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-134431-2
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

The life of one of America’s best-loved entertainers gets top-notch treatment in this highly enjoyable and eminently simpatico biography. Told in a vernacular worthy of the great man himself, the narrative recounts the adventures of Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain from birth through his travels in America’s Wild West, switching nomenclature from Clemens to Twain as the context demands. According to Fleischman, Twain “loosened up the language for us,” a fact apparent in the biographer’s own delivery. To hear him tell it, Twain’s accomplishments “…changed literature forever. He scraped earth under its fingernails and taught it to spit.” The former magician-turned-novelist intrepidly meets the challenge of recording the life of a man who once notably said, “A lie well told is immortal,” always noting when a fact or situation may or may not have actually occurred. All this makes for a more spirited and engaging biography than your average rote declaration of facts and dates. No worthier Twain bio will cross a child’s path than this feisty title, filled to the brim with ample grins and sly, knowing winks. (Biography. 9-14)