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Skinny Legs and All

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  34,355 Ratings  ·  1,201 Reviews
This is a gutsy, fun-loving, and provocative novel in which a bean can philosophises, a dessert spoon mystifies, a young waitress takes on the New York art world, and a rowdy redneck welder discovers the lost god of Palestine.
Paperback, 422 pages
Published March 10th 2002 by No Exit (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 15, 2012 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't think of any other book I've read very recently that left my mind as thoroughly blown as Skinny Legs and All. I'd only read one other Tom Robbins book -- Still Life With Woodpecker -- so I was prepared for his playfulness, humor, intricate (but goofy) language, and overall trippy feel that all come with just about everything he rights.

But I was not prepared for Skinny Legs. This book is so dense with literary magnificence that you could chew it like you had a whole mouth full of sticky b
Jul 18, 2008 Austen rated it liked it
I should start by saying that I'm not a fan of Tom Robbins' novels. I don't dislike his work, but you will not find me among the legions of his fanatical fans. I just need to get that out of the way before I begin...

However, I have enjoyed reading two of his books. I almost put down Still Life With Woodpecker, but because of my admiration for the person who recommended it to me, I made it through. I feel much the same way about this novel. In fact, I did put Skinny Legs down for about six months
Jul 27, 2007 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book at least three times. Tom Robbins is one of my favorie authors, and this was his only novel I hadn't read. However, each of the times I started it I found myself becoming very disappointed. At the beginning it was too weird, or trying to be too cute, even for Tom Robbins. Ellen Cherry and Boomer driving across country in a turkey. A talking and walking spoon, dirty sock and can of beans. It was too much. I couldn't take it seriously. He was trying to be too 'Tom Robbins like' ...more
Trying to talk about Tom Robbins to someone who's never read him is nigh on imfuckingpossible. It's even more difficult if you're trying to convince someone who's already decided he/she DOESN'T LIKE him.

This is one of my favourite books ever, I've read it more times than I can count, and yet...

I still have a hard time explaining exactly WHY I want people to read this book.

I mean, I get it. Robbins is pretentious as fuck and his writing is what my husband refers to as masturbatory (yes, I read hi
Jun 14, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016
Even though I grew a bit tired of this towards the last 100 pages, the fact that half of the main characters were objects like a spoon, a sock, a can of beans, a vibrator, and a stick, and it didn’t annoy the shit out of me = 3.5 rounded up.
Aug 12, 2008 Michele rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've ever read! Robbins keeps me on my toes with his vocabulary and uses unique characters to provide interesting perspectives on cultural clashes and life in general. I love this guy!
Jul 20, 2014 snowplum rated it really liked it
This book is a delightfully messy, trippy, optimistic, big-hearted whirlwind. A hurricane that has ripped through the 1960s and '70s and '80s in America, picking up hillbillies and flower children and Arabs and Jews and artists and Biblical characters who serve as fodder for our fantasies. And don't forget a Can o' Beans, Dirty Sock, Spoon, Painted Stick and Conch Shell. The overused phrase of praise Tour de Force actually applies here. And then some.

This is my personal favorite Tom Robbins nove
Oct 26, 2009 Leah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sean Ferguson
Recommended to Leah by: Viluna Jennings
Shelves: favorites
I've heard about how good Tom Robbins is for quite a long time, and finally picked up one of his novels at the insistence of a friend. I'm so glad I did. Skinny Legs and All is now officially making it onto my "best reads of '09" list (yes, I do actually keep lists).

I'm not sure where to begin with this one... the book is funny, controversial, and relevant. It can be confusing, but it's the sort of thing the reader has to let slide. I speak from experience when I say that if you accept the oddne
Sep 06, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pilgrims and frustrated artists; also: foot-fetishists
Shelves: own
A passage:

"You are an artist. You know that big picture at the museum midtown, that picture by that fellow Rousseau, it is called The Sleeping Gypsy?"

"Yeah. Sure. That's a very famous painting."

"It ought to be called The Sleeping Arab, that picture. An Arab lies in the desert, sleeping under the crazy-faced moon. A lion sniffs at the Arab, the Arab is unafraid..."

See the painting...

I find this to be one of Robbins' better works. By "better" here I mean "more mature" and "fully realized". Which i
this book's jacket description : this book :: funny movie trailer : movie that shot its wad in the trailer

The premise sounds wild and funny and makes you wonder, briefly, how he could pull it off. And then he doesn't.
May 05, 2014 Judith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
****First off..forget Formatting...this one is Free Form, all the way***

5 Stars: This book held my interest for over a month (I'm a slow reader, okay!) Gravity's Rainbow it's about Everything..and No One Thing, and it's never boring...Then there's the Wordplay..the lovely English language the most versatile of toys. Mr Robbins spins that top for all it's his hands it's worth a lot. Zany, crazy, surreal..the gang's all here, with pathos and sincerity in tow.

Art, and its carry-on
Feb 17, 2008 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Jill Z.
I believe this novel was so enjoyable because of its lighthearted mix of the absurd, the everyday, the magical, and the sexual. I consider those the four food groups of fun literature, and they each find a home in this ridiculous tale of self-awakening and revelations of truth. Robbins asserts that patriarchal society has blinded us to a heritage that recognizes and rejoices its feminine deities that embrace expressions of sexuality and the magic of nature. Blinded by “seven veils” of untruth in ...more
Sep 03, 2007 Jen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: smart, progressive types with a sense of humor
Tom Robbins is a genius. His use of the English language is so playful and dangerously intelligent that I can't belive he isn't a bigger literary celebrity.

Skinny Legs and All delves into all of life's big issues: religion, politics, love, war, money and so on, though it has a light touch; main characters include a Can 'o Beans and a Dirty Sock, for example. Seven fundamental truths are revealed as a modern day belly dancer named Salome dances The Dance of the Seven Veils - a veil drops, and a t
Frank Roberts
Jul 12, 2012 Frank Roberts rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People recovering from head trauma; autistic children
Shelves: books-to-burn
This tainted slab of ham turned out to be a massive milestone in my life of reading stuff. It marked the moment when I decided that a book DID NOT need to be finished once it was started. A wildly masturbatory author, Robbins lays metaphors on everything in triplicate and quadruplicate, spilling similes all over the place like a chimp splatters semen, like a bubbling fountain of tangy fondue cheese, like hand cream pumped from a bellows, like an elephant stomping on a sack of silly putty...

It wa
Jun 21, 2016 Jess rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Although I have determined that it is impossible for me to pick a favorite Tom Robbins novel, this one is strong in the running.

Ellen Cherry Charles isn't my favorite Robbins woman, but in many ways, she is his most sympathetic female protagonist. Caught between her art, her stupid husband, and her hypocritical uncle, she made me want to jump into the pages and help her straighten everything out.

As with all his other novels, as I read it, I feel that he's got it right, that almost everyone else
Ben Babcock
I’m very ambivalent about this book. Skinny Legs and All is a dense, intricate spiral of a story with funny characters but serious messages. However, Tom Robbins’ style grates on me a little bit. There’s nothing egregious about it, but maybe I’m just getting less patient with purpler prose as I approach the ripe old age of 26. In any event, I appreciate and respect this book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

Skinny Legs and All follows Ellen Cherry Charles, a small-town Virginian wom
Laura Harcourt
Mar 31, 2009 Laura Harcourt rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
Recommends it for: eccentrics
I am a Tom Robbins fan, but I was a little disappointed in this book. Fierce Invalids is still my all-time favorite, closely followed by Jitterbug Perfume. Both are MUST-reads.

My whole theory on how Tom Robbins writes a book:
--step 1: find some random unlikely stuff to be associated-- people, places, things, or topics.
--step 2: weave them together using witty humour, a renegade main character, some sort of historical or theological revelation tied into all random people places or things.

I'm used
Oct 17, 2014 Mat rated it liked it
Compared with the usual high standards that I have come to expect from Tom Robbins, this book was a tad disappointing.

There are those books which grab you by the seat of the pants from the first page and don’t let go until you turn that final page, such as John Grisham’s The Testament. There are those books which start off nice and slow, pouring in the literary concrete in the first half to pave the way for the dazzling kapow punch that usually comes in the second half. And there are those books
Ben Eldridge
Nov 22, 2012 Ben Eldridge rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm still not entirely sure what to think of Tom Robbins. His quirky use of language and fascination with absurdity are highly entertaining, but the rather shallow philosophizing underpinning his narrative, and his deliberately flat characterisation make him a somewhat frustrating author to read. Skinny Legs and All doesn't really cohere as a novel, reading more as an extended stand-up comedy routine by a comedian who takes himself far too seriously. The preceding novel Jitterbug Perfume deals w ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Clever For the Sake of Cleverness (2012)

Robbins, Tom (1990). Skinny Legs and All. New York: Bantam.

This novel is about Tom Robbins, who wants to show you how clever, funny, and sophisticated he is. With respect to that goal, the book succeeds.

However, does he create and motivate interesting characters? No. Does he develop an interesting story? No. Does he elucidate some significant point? No. Does he create a haunting sense of place or time? No. Does he skewer social or political practices with
Dec 02, 2010 Adam rated it liked it
This read a lot like an unfocused, ADD-addled Kurt Vonnegut novel. But the fact that it reminded me of Vonnegut in any way means it's worth a read, if nothing else. The wacky, over-strung cast of characters includes a talking stick, a talking can of beans, and a talking sock. Oh, there are people there too. Kind of.
Robbins' prose is evocative, full of similes and ripe description that sometimes means something. Everything kept happening and little of it meant much to me. The revelations come out
Donald Powell
Jan 07, 2015 Donald Powell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it seems impossible to review this book other than to say you should read it. It faithfully explores the human condition, the importance of asking/struggling with the best questions (philosophy), religion, sexuality, art, politics, family and biblical history, employing humor, sarcasm, eroticism, history and other novel devices. The storyline is small, like most of our lives, but huge in impact. He is an incredibly unique author who is a joy to read. I thank my dear friend John for giving me the ...more
I enjoyed this book, and the story was quite satisfying. But Robbins hackneyed digressions and similes turned me off. I found my eyes glazing over the words or simply skipping paragraphs. I felt that Ellen was a clearly drawn character but the others like Boomer or Spike or even Buddy didn't quite seem as clear. Hopefully the next Robbins book I read will be more satisfying.
Jul 23, 2009 Darlene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tom-robbins
I read this a long time ago but it still plays with my head now. After that I got caught up in Robbins' books. Then, well, other books came in and I lost my way. Must get back and read more. Maybe Can of Soup, Stick, Spoon, and Dirty Sock will welcome me back. How I miss them!
Sophie Vidali
Jan 24, 2015 Sophie Vidali rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Τέχνη, θρησκεία, έμπνευση και σουρεαλισμός.
Επίκαιρο περισσότερο από ποτέ.
Πρώτη φορά που ο ελληνικός τίτλος ενός βιβλίου (στην προκειμένη περίπτωση "ο χορός των εφτά πέπλων") αντιπροσωπεύει πολύ πιο βαθιά το νόημα του βιβλίου το από αυτόν που έδωσε ο συγγραφέας.
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
"Nella casa di spettri della vita, l'arte è l'unica scala che non cigola"
Jan 28, 2008 Cody rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those about to rock (i would also salute you).
his best book, in my opinion. spiritually themed, richly philosophical, a little dirty and not afraid to be silly. robbins' language is reliably lush and off-beat. oh, and i loved the commentary about art and art scenes.
Chitra Donthi
Mar 24, 2015 Chitra Donthi rated it it was amazing
It was orgasmic !! after a long tme, i felt awe, joy, perplexed how i did not discover this delightful author before..He truly has transcended mundane and meta short. I just keep going back savoring his irreverent narrative. While the story in itself kind of gives context, he digresses,(can i say that ?)free assosiates in such JamesJoycean manner, disects a distinct, obscure point, all along making you laugh with his similies and anaologies.. and somehow ties them all together into a ...more
Oct 03, 2008 Sparrow rated it it was ok
Recommended to Sparrow by: Mr. Alves
I read this in high school, and I'm not sure if I would like it better now, or hate it now.
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"inanimate objects" 5 86 Nov 28, 2012 02:30PM  
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Thomas Eugene Robbins (born July 22, 1936 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina) is an American author. His novels are complex, often wild stories with strong social undercurrents, a satirical bent, and obscure details. His novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976) was made into a movie in 1993 directed by Gus Van Sant.

More about Tom Robbins...

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“Don't trust anybody who'd rather be grammatically correct than have a good time.” 158 likes
“Ellen Cherry was from the south and had good manners. She didn´t have any panties on, but she had good manners.” 108 likes
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