Saturday, July 2, 2005

Something about beets

A while back, Erin(2) sent me a copy of Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume. She had spoken of him and his style several times and how she thought I'd enjoy him, basically because she thought he and I shared similar opinions on organized religions, Christianity in particular.

She was at the time reading another Tom Robbins book, I believe it was called Skinny Legs and All, which she sent me a sample of, which convinced me that this guy was a must read.

I'm normally an extremely fast reader, and devour a King or Koontz novel in a day, but this one well, I've had it a couple of weeks, and I'm just now half way through. It's the first book in ages that has made me want to read slowly enough to ensure I'm getting every word, every innuendo, every detail. It's an amazing book which is broken into 3 story lines, which is fun, jumping from one set of characters to another. Alobar, and his story line is my favorite of the 3, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the three lines will soon intersect.

She was, by the way, very right about our religious and spiritual beliefs - very similar indeed. I love the way he challenges protocol, disbelieves, rebels - and weaves it all in throughout his stories. It's a wonderful book, just based on that alone, but his style in general is very engaging, his characters and plots are great, and he has a knack with imagery as well. I think I'll be fighting Tom Robbins' images out of my poetry for quite a while.

Anyway thanks for the awesome birthday present Erin! I'm loving it, just at a slower pace than usual, because I'm afraid I'm going to miss something.


  1. Lol, E. I just took a break from reading TR to check my email. I finished Skinny Legs and All last week. I think that ought to be your next read. That or Another Roadside Attraction. They're all so damned good! I am reading Jitterbug again with a highlighter. I gave my original copy, with all my favorite highlighted quotes and bits and pieces, to a friend I thought was deserving (I was wrong) and I am amazed that probably 12 years since I originally read it, the same parts stick out for me. I never read one of his books without a highlighter.

    Though I am quite sure you noted many these parts too, this is what I've highlighted so far:

    "Everything sits on something else." Just thought that was funny because it's true but also something I never would have thought about.

    "For a long time now, the Romans had been increasingly under the spell of some borrowed god who sounded like particularly bad news. Modern Romans insisted that there was only one god, a notion that struck Alobar as comically simplistic. Worse, this Semetic diety was reputed to be jealous (who was there to be jealous of if there were no other gods?), vindictive, and altogether foul-tempered. If you didn't serve the nasty fellow, the Romans would burn your house down. If you did serve him, you were called a Christian and got to burn other people's houses down."

    "It is to erase the fixed smiles of sleeping couples that Satan trained roosters to crow at five in the morning."

    "Harsh labor pierces the rosy membrane of youth and lets the shriveling brine seep in."

    "Are you to be an individual, a trespasser in territory none else has had the wit or nerve to explore, or just another troublesome mosquito to be swatted by the authorities?"

    "Christinanity is merely a system for turning priestesses into handmaidens, queens into concubines and goddesses into muses."

    "Death is impatient and thougtless. It barges into your room where you are right in the middle of something and it does not bother to wipe its boots."

    "The rusted-out VW bug is the national bird of Waitressland."

    "There is a comfort in conformity, a security in control, that is appealing. There is a thrill in domination, and we are all of us secretly attracted to violence."

    That's all I've got for now. Sorry to flood your comments! You know, there are a bazillion noteworthy analogies too, but if I highlighted them all, my whole book would be pink!! I am so glad you love him. Aside from being a very entertaining, thought-provoking read, I sincerely believe that TR fosters a kind of creative literary evolution. I find myself feeling much more inspired when I am reading anything of his. :o)

  2. almost every one of those portions stuck out to me as I read. The one's that didn't, well, maybe I haven't gotten to them yet.

    He is VERY inspiring, and I just know he'll be cropping up in my work!

    Skinny Legs and All is my next read - those few pages you emailed me had me HOOKED.

  3. OMG I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Jitterbug Perfume!!!!!!!!! Such an awesome novel - gave it away, dammit. Shoulda kept it. Cos it just rocks so so so hard.

  4. Lol, Raz. It's my favorite book of all time. Have you read any of his other stuff? My mom happened to have a copy of JB that I picked up when I was 15 - which incidentally, saved me from the worst family road trip vacation EVER - and I've been hooked ever since. He has a new book of short stories due out next month. :-D

  5. Haven't read another word - my loss, I know. Did catch Uma in 'Even Cowgirls get the Blues'.