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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

Title: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
Author: Tom Robbins
Page Count: 386 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: fiction, let's leave it at that

50 words or less: Impossible. Here's the summary from goodreads.com- When the stock market crashes on the Thursday before Easter, you — an ambitious, although ineffectual and not entirely ethical young broker — are convinced you're facing the Weekend from Hell. Before the market reopens on Monday, you're going to have to scramble and scheme to cover your butt, but there's no way you can anticipate the baffling disappearance of a 300-pound psychic, the fall from grace of a born-again monkey, or the intrusion in your life of a tattooed stranger intent on blowing your mind and most of your fuses. Over these fateful three days, you will be forced to confront everything from mysterious African rituals to legendary amphibians, from tarot-card bombshells to street violence, from your own sexuality to outer space. This is, after all, a Tom Robbins novel — and the author has never been in finer form.

Tom Robbins is my favorite author and has been for a long time, but I'm almost ashamed to admit that I hadn't read Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas until now. I think it's because I've not yet read a Robbins book I didn't like so I didn't feel pressured to read it. I'm glad I moved it to the top of my pile though, as the head trip that comprised the story was definitely worth exploring.

Tom Robbins is not an author to read if you need your books to start at point A and end at point Z and progress in a logical and linear fashion with no tangents, tightly packaged and locked in, following a standard formula and complete with a happily ever after. These things are all well and good but are not present in a Tom Robbins novel.

Reading his work is a lot like using the spin the bottle method of picking turns on a road trip. You don't know where you'll end up and backtracking is almost out of the question, but somehow, some way, you end up where you wanted to go. Or maybe you don't; maybe you end up somewhere totally different that you've never heard of or thought about and that's just fine too.

It's so hard to talk about what goes in the story because everything is tied into everything else- the cast of characters is outrageous, the storylines are a big, knotty, candy-covered puzzle, and through it all run themes that are still as relevant today as they were when the book first came out. It's a book to read in segments and to think about between readings; with that said, it's easy to get sucked in and read it all in one go.

Overall Grade A, if grading this kind of book is even really possible.


Rachel said...

I love Tom Robbins - no one I know has even heard of him!

Emily said...

I think he's one of those authors that you either get introduced to or discover on accident, as opposed to seeking out or seeing everywhere. I remember finding a copy of Still Life with Woodpecker at a bookstore while my family was on vacation years ago and I haven't been the same since.

Melanie said...

I've never heard of Tom Riggins, but he definitely sounds interesting! I'm not sure if I would like that style, but I may end up enjoying it. Thanks for the review!

Beth F said...

I like Robbins too, but haven't read this one. I'll have to track this one down.

April said...

I've only read one book by Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker, which was only because a friend highly recommended it. Thank goodness for that rec since it was one of the most pleasurable reading experiences I've ever had. Unfortunately that is the only Tom Robbins I've ever read! I think I will have to obtain Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas based on your marvelous review!

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