26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The Boy Who Is STILL Mark Twain,
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This review is from: Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain (Hardcover)
When this long awaited book was delivered I thought I would read a chapter or two right away and finish it later in the week. It's simply not possible to put this book down. The first sentence takes you by the hand and sits you down beside Mr. Holbrook, no, Hal, and as the pages fly by you hear his voice telling you his story without drama or hyperbole or one whit of self-pity, which can't be said of most memoirs. I've seen Hal perform in Mark Twain Tonight (Original Cast) in six different venues, and he IS our Mark Twain. It has been his gift to the world for roughly six decades, and it's what I have always loved best about him. Until now. Until now, I have been grateful to Mr. Holbrook for bringing my favorite author to life on the stage, for letting me hear Twain and see Twain pacing the stage, all fire and humor and cigar smoke. This legacy alone has assured Hal Holbrook a place in my heart and the hearts of all those who know and love Twain. He could have rested on those well-deserved laurels and basked in the adoration he has inspired. But he did not rest. He picked up the pen and opened his heart, and in so doing he touched ours. This books is rich in detail and history and conjures nostalgia where we don't quite expect it. His childhood was not merely troubled, it was cruel. Yet, like Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes: A Memoir, Holbrook is matter of fact, eschewing sentimentality while simply laying out the facts unashamedly. Harold DID become Mark Twain, and better still, he became Hal. This is volume one with a promised sequel (not unlike Twain again with his own series of autobiographies: Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1). I have always loved Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain. I love him even more as himself.