“Diaries of Adam & Eve” by Mark Twain
(First publication: 1904 / This edition: Alma Classics 2015)
Taken at Carnival Store x Coffee
I wish I could make him understand that a loving good heart is riches, and riches enough, and without it intellect is poverty. (pg.30)
Okay. Can I just take a second to be completely mind-blown that this was written over a hundred years ago?
The writing style is so modern—I wouldn’t be surprised if some “jokes” or witty humor are used in some sit-com or said by Louis in “Suits” or something.
I had never heard of this book (or read any of Mark Twain’s) until a little over a month ago, when I came across a post on Instagram—just a photo of a couple kissing and the caption says,
After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside the garden without her.
It stayed on my mind.
It triggered emotions. I’m a romantic, soppy person like that.
I searched it up, saw that it was a line from this book, and immediately ordered it from Book Depository.
I shared that quote with a friend of mine and he explained how I feel better than I do; so to quote him, he said, “It’s much better to have something real with someone instead of all the gardens in the world. The ultimate garden is within each being.”
Anyway, so about the book… It’s a satirical piece, so a lot of it got me chuckling in public and admiring Mark Twain’s sense of humor. Now, I’ve never read the Bible—I’m not a Christian and I only know a brief, outline of the “synopsis” (excuse me for the lack of a better word right now—had some wine) of all the different people, such as Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, etc. I don’t know about all the details and the events. I just understand the gist of it.
This is a satirical piece though, so it can easily offend some people, I think. But if you take it lightly and just pretend it’s not even based on the religion at all, then you will probably enjoy it. Eve is depicted as this honest, beautiful woman who has curiosity of all things in the world and acts like a child. She’s a little ditzy—she has that cute innocence in her. Adam is this stern and easily-annoyed man, who turns out to be kind of clueless about everything. (This book’s kind of sexist, by the way—but hey, it was written over a hundred years ago.) They seem to be just miscommunicating with each other all the time—but it’s their interaction that makes it such a cute and cozy story.
It’s written in many chapters—each one told from a different point of view, eg. from Eve’s diary, from Adam’s diary, from Satan’s Diary (which is one of the most intriguing chapters, by the way.)
I didn’t enjoy the second half of the book too much because I started losing focus—I guess I would have to know more about the Bible or Christianity to understand it better.
I recommend this for a cute, fun read—but if you’re religious, just take it lightly and don’t be offended. I don’t think that was Twain’s intentions. Just think of it as if Adam and Eve were in a funny sit-com, trying to figure each other out. It’s actually very romantic—a lot of the lines (as shown below) moved me in that sense. Gives me the butterflies.
Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:
Wheresoever she was, there was Eden. (pg. 45)
The moon got loose last night, and slid down and fell out of scheme—a very great loss. It breaks my heart to think of it. There isn’t another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better. If only we could get it back again…
I believe I can be honest in all other matters, but I already begin to realize that the core and center of my nature is love of the beautiful, a passion for the beautiful, and that it would not be safe to trust me with a moon that belonged to another person and that person didn’t know I had it. (pg.21)
She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy. (pg.36)
If I ask myself why I love him, I find I do not know, and do not really much care to know; so I suppose that this kind of love is not a product of reasoning and statistics, like one’s love for other reptiles and animals. I think that this must be so. I love certain birds because of their song; but I do not love Adam on account of his singing — no, it is not that; the more he sings the more I do not get reconciled to it. Yet I ask him to sing, because I wish to learn to like everything he is interested in. I am sure I can learn, because at first I could not stand it, but now I can. It sours the milk, but it doesn’t matter; I can get used to that kind of milk. (pg.42-43)