Cincinnati Gazette [unsigned]
1872: 25 March

Mark Twain's Roughing It suggests the query, If it be no easy matter to invent one good joke, how hard must it be to be funny to the extent of nearly six hundred octavo pages? Mr. Clemens has essayed the difficult task, and if his humor sometimes seems far-fetched or weak, must be admitted to have succeeded on the whole better than ninety-nine men out of one hundred would have done. We would not have it understood that the volume is a mere jest book, for it is a recital of its author's experience in the remote West. The facetious element, however, bears about the same relation to the veracious narrative as the pattern on a calico dress to the ground color. Mark's adventures in Nevada, among the Mormons in Utah, in California, and in the Sandwich Islands are related with a liveliness, and, we must add, with more than occasional imaginativeness peculiar to himself. One may not always approve the taste of what is said, yet he can rarely record his dissent without a smile. The many illustrations are not the least amusing feature of the book.

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