Bibliographic Citation: Fleischman, Sid. The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2008. 224p. ISBN: 9780061344312.
ALSC Notable Books List
Orbis Pictus Award, 2009
In The Trouble Begins At 8, Sid Fleischman chronicles the wild adventures of Samuel Clemens that inspired the classic American novels he would later write as Mark Twain
Sid Fleischman’s The Trouble Begins At 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West is a biography of Mark Twain (born Samuel Clemens), focusing mostly on the time he spent in the Western United States as a young man. Beginning in Hannibal, Missouri (Twain’s boyhood home), the book follows Twain as he masters the printing press, pilots a steamboat, mines for gold, and breaks into the lecture field. Along the way, Fleischman draws parallels between Twain’s life and his celebrated novels, such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Fleischman’s greatest victory in his account of Twain’s life is his clever treatment of it. In The Trouble Begins At 8, Fleischman writes with humor and wit, which is more than appropriate considering his subject’s recognized comedic gift. The book includes a sample of Twain’s writing with “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” the short story for which Twain first earned praise. Also including “A Mark Twain Time Line,” The Trouble Begins At 8 offers readers a glimpse into Twain’s life that will inspire a deeper look.
Dedication page, TOC, Preface
“The Truth, More or Less,” “A Mark Twain Sampler: ‘The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,’” “A Mark Twain Time Line,” References, Illustration and Photograph Sources, Bibliography, “The Novels and Other Works,” Index