The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Mark Twain
Of the growing number of literary "companions" to Mark Twain, this lively labor of love by Pam McAllister must surely be the most companionable... McAllister not only has an unerring sense of what needs to be said, she never fails to make her points engaging; even her plot summaries are compelling. The fresh personal perspectives that she brings to Mark Twain’s life and works guarantee that this particular "companion" is one that students, scholars, and even casual fans of Mark Twain will want to keep near at hand.
Pam McAllister's Companion to Mark Twain answers such questions as:
– Why did Mark Twain stop going to school when he was only twelve?
– What national catastrophe ended his stint as a riverboat pilot?
– What public humiliation inspired him to move his family to Europe for ten years?
– What book did he think was his best? (Hint: the main character is a girl!)
– Where is there a toilet seat with the sign "Mark Twain sat here?"
You know that Mark Twain’s real name was Sam Clemens, but did you know that he:
– is believed to be the first author to submit a typewritten manuscript?
– had red hair, a funny talk, and an odd (Chaplainesque) waddle-walk?
– started smoking at age 7 and sometimes smoked 40 cigars a day?
– was born under Halley’s Comet and died at the comet’s next return?
Did you know that Mark Twain:
– died in 1910, but had a newly-published bestseller in 1962?
– wrote science fiction stories, (including several gender-benders) as well as an antiwar book, several animal-rights stories, and a number of anti-imperialist rants?
– once sardonically suggested that the U.S. change its flag from the stars and stripes to the skull and crossbones?
– wrote about television and long-distance telephoning before these were invented?
– was initially best known for his travel books?
Excerpt from the “Preface”
I love Mark Twain for never allowing himself to be boxed in. Not for him the neat and tidy résumé: the shape of his life was as full of twists and turns as the river he loved. All my maternal instincts rise up to warn him: Watch out! But he slips out of my reach just as neatly as Tom slips away from Aunt Polly, living ten lifetimes to my one safe one.