Hmm. I have to admit I really liked (and approved of) John Seelye's The
True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, so it may seem hypocritical to
criticize this laundered version, but I think the big distinction there
is that Seelye says this is how *Huck* would tell it; Dr. Gribbens seems
to be saying "This is how Mark Twain would *like to have it told*
"When you want to get revenge on a woman you don't kill her - bosh! you
go for her looks. You slit her nostrils - you notch her ears like a
One of my favorite lines from the book Mr. Clemens himself dubbed "a
boy's book," Tom Sawyer, which I read over and over at ten and suffered
no ill effects.
R. Kent Rasmussen, in his fine introduction to his Mark Twain's Book for
Bad Boys and Girls underlines Mark Twain's "disdain for humbug" and
observes that he "always wrote about real people. He gave them real
language to speak and real challenges to overcome."
I think Mark Twain would be more likely to go in the other direction
were he alive today, as did Seeley. I think he would bask in the freedom
to publish *everything* that he heard. Mark Twain's Own Book of Dirty
Stories would beat out the Autobiography for best seller.
Sorry if I sound a little full of myself: I had four sold out houses for
"Mark Twain's Christmas" at the new Stormfield Theatre in Lansing
Michigan last month. Tried new material every night; we sang carols and
spirituals together; and ended with "Auld Lang Syne." Beautifully staged
and produced by Kristine Thatcher and her excellent artistic team.