Like many kids, I marveled at the boyhood adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as I read these classic American novels. I remember being shocked at the brutal nature of the times, the violence, alcoholism and racism that put my comfortable life into sharp perspective. But still, these books sparked a curiosity and wanderlust in me that I’m forever thankful to Mr.Twain for.
Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens, and his life was just as colorful and chaotic as those of his most famous characters. Born shortly after an appearance of Halley’s Comet, he predicted that he would “go out with it” as well. He prompted died the day after the comet returned. He has been praised as the “greatest humorist this country has produced”, and referred to as “the father of American literature.”
One thing perhaps lesser known about Twain is his enduring love for cats, whom he respected far more than people. “If man could be crossed with the cat,” he once wrote, “it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”
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