The surprising final chapter of a great American life.
This third and final volume of Mark Twain's uncensored autobiography crowns and completes his li…more
The surprising final chapter of a great American life.
This third and final volume of Mark Twain's uncensored autobiography crowns and completes his life’s work. Like its companion volumes, it chronicles Twain's inner and outer life through a series of daily dictations that go wherever his fancy leads.
Created from March 1907 to December 1909, these dictations present Mark Twain at the end of his life: receiving an honorary degree from Oxford University; railing against Theodore Roosevelt; founding numerous clubs; incredulous at an exhibition of the Holy Grail; credulous about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays; relaxing in Bermuda; observing (and investing in) new technologies. The Autobiography’s “Closing Words” movingly commemorate his daughter Jean, who died on Christmas Eve 1909. Also included in this volume is the previously unpublished “Ashcroft-Lyon Manuscript,” Mark Twain’s caustic indictment of his “putrescent pair” of secretaries and the havoc that erupted in his house during their residency.
Fitfully published in fragments at intervals throughout the twentieth century, Autobiography of Mark Twain has now been critically reconstructed and made available as it was intended to be read. Fully annotated by the editors of the Mark Twain Project, the complete Autobiography emerges as a landmark publication in American literature. [close]
This might be my most disappointing read of 2015. I have been so excited for this book. There are so few books out there about people who identify as genderqueer that I couldn't wait for this book to be available. But it did so many things wrong.
FirsThis might be my most disappointing read of 2015. I have been so excited for this book. There are so few books out there about people who identify as genderqueer that I couldn't wait for this book to be available. But it did so many things wrong.
Firstly, I knew early on that this wasn't going to get more than three stars. It read like a textbook or essay discussing and informing the reader about being transgender and being genderqueer. The story itself - about Toni and Gretchen's relationship - was weak and underdeveloped. Starting with instalove and never growing into anything that interesting, it merely served as a platform for the issues to be discussed.
But that wasn't a completely bad thing either. I would have given this three stars if it educated teens about people so rarely represented in YA.
There were many discussions about the fluidity of gender and language. I found this latter particularly interesting and enjoyed learning about the ways language has changed to incorporate LGBTQIA individuals and words like sexism and homophobia. But the book started to really go downhill when it began to completely misrepresent what it means to be "genderqueer".
You can read many blog posts and articles by people who identify as genderqueer, you can watch videos by those who are genderqueer and hear firsthand what they have to say about it. But to summarize, being genderqueer means that you do not identify with "masculinity" or "femininity", you do not simply fall into either box. This might be because you fall somewhere between the two, having both traditionally masculine and feminine gender traits. Or it might be because you find yourself somewhere outside the expectations of either.
It is not, however, the same thing as being transgender. And, contrary to what this book portrays, it is not a transition period in which you decide which gender you belong to. And it annoys me so much that this book suggests genderqueer people are those who haven't made their minds up which gender they want to be. That is NOT true. Just like bisexual people are not those who simply haven't decided whether they like girls or boys yet.
But that's not all that bothered me.
I hated the disdain for every white heterosexual person in the book. Both Toni and Gretchen comment on this. Gretchen doesn't want to be "straight" because it's so "normal", and Toni comments on her roommates all being non-white but is relieved she brings some LGBT diversity. Sexuality and gender identity are not fashion statements! It's not about being cool! Bloody hell.
My issue with this isn't because I feel so sorry for all the poor white heterosexual people, it's because it sells the right-wing misconception that gay or transgender people have disdain for straight, cisgender people. It's so stupid! And so wrong!
I think the only straight, cisgender character in the book that isn't mean is Toni's little sister Audrey. Seriously, I'm not exaggerating. The others are viewed like this:
Joanna gets up at six in the morning to start a ninety-minute hair care regimen, and Felicia wears designer high heels every day even though they always get caught in the sidewalks. Joanna and Felicia are the ultimate gender conformists. Neither of them has the right to talk about feminism until they stop posting pictures of themselves in bikinis.
Because feminists can't possibly want to be attractive and take pictures of themselves in bikinis, right? ...Wrong!
I'm also confused about the decision to have Gretchen befriend a homophobic, transphobic guy who calls Toni a "shemale". I thought it was going to be part of a lesson/message the book was imparting, but nope, she just decided she liked him.
This book was just a complete mess. I'm so so disappointed. I really am. We need more books with genderqueer characters, just not like this.
Sun-drenched love takes exciting shape in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. The author answers your questions about her advice for young writers, her favorite season (hint: it's now!), and writing from experience.