The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Twain’s End


All I knew about Mark Twain was very basic. His real name was Samuel Clemens and he was the author of many wonderful books like Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huck Finn. Lynn Cullen’s book, Twains End (B) is quite an eye opener about this famous man, “America’s Sweetheart”.

Cullen, author of Mrs. Poe, takes on the story of Mark Twain writing from the perspective of his secretary Isabel Lyon. Her research led her to discover the dairy that Isabel kept while working for Sam. The journal verified many of the rumors about the author and confirmed for Cullen that Isabel was in love with him.

Sam wanted and needed to be loved by everyone. Childhood events altered his spirit making him believe (his entire life) that he would destroy anyone he loved. At times it appears that he works hard at being destructive. Not even his children are safe from his ire. Mark Twain uses his power with words to create magnificent stories while Sam uses them to hurt and alienate.

Twain’s End is very insightful. Cullen really delivers the story well. Certainly this is her expertise. At times, the book was as frenetic as the subject. There were moments I felt a bit lost and confused. It was like reading a recipe. Not until all the ingredients were added did the story become whole.

Twain’s End is perfect for someone like myself who has no patience for biographies. The essence of the man is clear, the story enlightening. I am now acquainted with an American icon. He spent years dictating his autobiography, one he did not want published until 100 years after his death. He knew himself well and he knew that once his story was out it would be hard to be “loved” and continue to be “American’s Sweetheart”.

I invite you all to be introduced to Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens through Twain’s End. *


*Twain’s End was the name considered for his residence in Connecticut.


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