I did not like this. It’s not even the material, but the production that I was not on board for. After listening to the masterful rendition of Emma and weird but well put-together I’m From the Sun, I was expecting good quality from an Audible Original. It immediately said “podcast” to me, which is fine if you want a podcast, but I was expecting a book. And this is a book, or at least based on one. The production quality just wasn’t there. There are weird gaps and changes in sound quality, and it’s very obvious when one person is interjecting via splice. And a few times they go out hunting things and come back empty handed. It seems like they paid for the segment and they were going to stick it in no matter what.
The premise of the book is good, at least it seems so. Mark Twain was homesick while abroad, and made a long list of all of the foods he would like when he came back stateside. Of this giant list, the author picked eight dishes to focus on, and tries to find them and learn about them. We learn a bit about Twain’s life on the way, but not as much as I was hoping. In the Audible production, they are actually cooking the dishes (kind of) and eating the feast in Twain’s Connecticut house. Now learning about the prairie chicken and oysters and their history is pretty good, and we have a good connection with Twain. We hear a lot about Twain’s time on the Mississippi, but then we go back in a later chapter and it feels very strange. They could have reworked it so that the river portions were all together. I kind of get why they did it, because Twain went back to the river later in life, but the food elements would have been the same. We hear little bits about his wife and family, but not enough. Then we get to the latter chapters, and maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I missed how they prepared cranberries and maple syrup at the actual ‘feast’ they were having. Those chapters seemed a little rushed to me for some reason. So this review was on the AudibleOriginals production and not the text it was based on, but Andrew Beahrs was the creator of both, so he gets the blame. From reading the other reviews of the book, they’re similar enough to count. Only the book may be less disappointing.
(We did get a fun little side note, though. Apparently Twain hated Roosevelt, and had this to say. Imma just leave this here…
“We have never had a President before who was destitute of self-respect and respect for his high office; we have had no President before who was not a gentleman; we have had no President before who was intended for a butcher, a dive-keeper or a bully, and missed his mission.”)