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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Mark Twain
This inexpensive book of over 600 pages offers an incredible value for anyone who enjoy Mark Twain's quintessential humor. It is one of those books that you cannot put down once you get started on it. A great way to while away a hot summer afternoon
Published on July 26, 1997

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119 of 139 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Get another edition!
Don't buy this book! The stories, of course, are classic Mark Twain- one of the most thoughtful, humorous, and clear thinking writers ever born. But the Bantam edition is unreadable.
To save money, the margins run from 1/4 to 1/8 an inch. Not too bad on the outside edges, but on the inside edge near the spine the words are nearly hidden by the curve of the page...
Published on February 6, 2003 by Greg Blonder


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4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap edition and ..., August 7, 2013
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It looks cheap and is fragile. However, for the price, I guess it is worth it. I got what I paid for!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Early ones were great, later ones not so much, June 21, 2013
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I enjoyed about half of the stories because of their humor and satire, particularly his earlier works. I didn't enjoy many of the later stories because they were cynical and had a pessimistic sense-of-life, the best example being The Mysterious Stranger. It's too bad Twain didn't have a rational philosophy available to him; he was clearly disgusted by the irrationality he saw around him and took it as a fact of life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars but it 's a fun overview of his talent, September 18, 2014
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This review is from: The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain (Kindle Edition)
Was surprised at the sheer number of stories penned by this master of the small tale. Not all were worth exploring, but it 's a fun overview of his talent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, August 2, 2014
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He makes me laugh.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars REview, September 30, 2013
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I enjoy the book but the quality was very poor and its not as enjoyable to read due to the poor quality.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book & a Criticism of Amazon, May 26, 2013
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You know how great Twain is.

You have made giving feedback too complicated--a busy person is just going to say oh the heck with this.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Story Review, September 15, 2004
"The Story of the Bad Little Boy" is a satire on the stories we all heard in Sunday school with an interesting twist. While Twain seems to b satirizing the stories of old because his protagonist does not seem to encounter punishment for his sin, Twain still ends the story with something of a moral for us to think about. While Jim may have been able to get away with his bad behavior, he was still sinful. In other words, a person cannot base his or her behavior on the fact if he or she is punished or not. The truth is that many bad people get away with doing bad things all the time and we must be better and rise above such behavior. Goodness must come from one's own desire to be good.

Twain purposefully begins with Jim's bad behavior as what appears to be harmless. For example, his first bad at is replacing the jam with tar. This seems harmless enough. That act is followed by stealing apples from Farmer Acorn's apple tree. We are told that Jim "and the limb didn't break, and he didn't fall and break his arm, and get torn by the farmer's great dog" and he "stole as many apples as he wanted and came down all right."

Another interesting aspect of this story is how Twain is how Jim continues to live a bad life even as an adult. The sequence is essential to Twain's notion that evil, if allowed to grow, will take over a person's life. Jim's evil actions were innocent enough when he was a boy. However, they progressively become worse. For example, he moves from stealing apples to stealing a knife and then planting the knife in George Wilson's cap and allowing George to be punished. In fact, the incident with George reveals much about Jim's personality. We are told:

"No meddling old clam of a justice dropped in to make trouble, and so the model boy George got thrashed, and Jim was glad of it because, you know, Jim hated moral boys. Jim said he was `down on them milk-sops.' Such was the coarse language of this bad, neglected boy."

These statements reflect how Jim is growing more evil. He not only finds joy in doing evil things, but he also delights in the fact that good and innocent people suffer for crimes they did not commit. Jim moves from becoming a mischevious boy to an evil boy that hates good boys. This is a subtle action but it reflects how evil can subtly take over an individuals' life. In this sense we can see how people are not born completely evil. Instead, they wander through gray areas of life committing one evil act after another until they are transformed. The message here is that people rarely set out to be evil; rather they become evil after repeating one offense after the other.

Twain moves through the events of Jim's life to illustrate that although bad people do not always get caught, they end up with a life that is not pleasing or desirable. In the beginning of the story, the events Twain describes are what we would consider normal for an average boy. Stealing is something to which we can all relate. By introducing us to such events, Twain is engaging us as readers. When we read about Jim, we think that there is nothing wrong with him. However, as the story progresses, we realize that Jim's behavior begins to have negative effects on other people. Not only that, but Jim has little regard for these people. First, it is George then it become Jim's innocent family. By moving swiftly through these events, Twain is demonstrating how quickly a person can become evil.

I found this story to be fascinating in that its message is not terribly overt. I also enjoyed it because it is realistic. Many people do not get caught or punished for their crimes. But the most fascinating aspect is how Jim's character develops into a truly evil person. He goes from stealing jam to braining his entire family. At the end of the story, we are told that he "got wealthy by all manner of cheating and rascality; and now he is the infernalist wickedest scoundrel in his native village, and is universally respected, and belongs to the Legislature." Clearly, while this message seems to support the message that crime pays, it also indicates that Jim became an evil person one step at a time. In fact, Jim is probably not even aware of his own evilness.

It is also interesting that the narrator refers to Jim as lucky more than once. I also believe this is part of Twain's technique because at first glance, it would appear that Jim is lucky. he is never caught and is never punished for his crimes. In fact, he is well respected in his community. It would seem that he does have the best of luck. However, the underlying message is that we cannot rest on what society perceives as lucky when it comes to finding meaning in life. Jim's so-called luck is simply another one of society's misguided messages. In reality, Jim is not lucky at all.

In the end, Jim might have been considered lucky to some but more importantly, he was sinful. The story teaches us that goodness must come from within--it cannot come from Sunday school books nor can it come from how society perceives and treats us. While Twain mocks the typical Sunday school method of teaching, he is presenting the same message in that we must desire to be good and that desire must be our compelling force in life.
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9 of 147 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars it was bad, September 5, 1999
By A Customer
terribl
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