Brian Flatt's Reviews > The Autobiography of Mark Twain

The Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain
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Jul 07, 08

bookshelves: memoir
Recommended for: anyone interested in the human drama of one of the world's most beloved authors
Read in January, 2008

Ok, I have decided to mete out the 5 stars sparingly. The rating wouldn't mean much if it was given to just any old book that I happened to like.
This book though, is without a doubt, one of those few that actually deserves more than 5 stars and it is therefore one of my favorite books of all time.

Why?

Well, I think there are some books that you read and you think, upon closing the last page, "Hmmm, that was a pretty good book", but then if asked about it a few days later you might be hard pressed to remember much if anything about it. Other books you read, they affect you, they touch your life, your heart, your soul, and you are changed, a different person afterwards. I have not read too many of those books.

When people are asked to name the books that have changed their lives, I'm always amused at those whose lists are long. My list is short and this one is on the short list.

I absolutely fell in love with Mark Twain and his autobiography. It is even more interesting when you realize that Mark Twain never actually wrote an autobiography. What he did write were a grab bag assortment of small books and personal anecdotes, with the intention of someone else compiling it after his death into an autobiography. That is why each version will be slightly different. This is not the version that I read, but Amazon did not have a photo of it, so I chose this one.

I was just so taken in by the humanity of Mark Twain, his was an American life to be sure, but it was more than that. He was a living human being,much more than just one of America's, the world's, most beloved authors. He was also a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend. He was all of those and more. He lived the ups and downs of life. He lived through more than his fair share of tragedy and yet in the end, he was never beaten by life's circumstances. He stayed true to who he was. He stayed forever and inimitably, Mark Twain. He laughed, he cried, he was happy, and he was sad. In the end he was supremely human, not a perfect human being, and his flaws are readily apparent.
This was one of the few books that I have read where I actually had tears streaming down my face when I closed the last page.

From his early boyhood, to the many tragedies in his life, all the way up to the end when he lost his daughter and his wife, this book was incredibly poignant. You couldn't help loving this man even more and being sad that we have no equivalent of Mark Twain today. He died himself the following year after his daughter Jean died and the world has been the worse off ever since.
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Brian Flatt I was thinking about modern day Mark Twain equivalents and the only name that possibly comes to mind is Kurt Vonnegut, but even he has passed on now. So who is out there to take up the torch? I can't think of anyone. Mark Twain was truly one of a kind.


Brian Flatt George Carlin could be seen as comparable to Mark Twain, possibly. But he has recently passed on too.


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