Sunshine's Reviews > Skinny Legs and All

Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins
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Aug 03, 11


A guy I briefly dated first introduced me to Tom Robbins. I knew that my seminal interest in his books was genuine when I continued reading him after I stopped seeing the guy. However, there was a catch: it was becoming increasingly necessary for me to be aware of my physical location when reading Robbins. Why? It's impossible to not cry, guffaw, laugh, snort, and generally cause arched eyebrows to be directed your way when reading him in public. After I tried suppressing my reactions, to little success, I stopped caring when mothers silently pulled their children away from me in frozen yogurt shops, the gym, the doctor's office and other place where I brought Mr. Robbins.

So, to summarize: if you've got a quirky sense of humor and don't mind a bit of philosophizing, then puh-leeze take a hearty bite of Robbins. You'll fly away on an anthropomorphic beast, I promise.

Skinny Legs and All is focused on the question of religion, spirituality, and society. However, it's not a Sunday morning of yawns. It's a triple shot of espresso finished off with two shots of vodka. Robbins is a deep thinker, and yes, he's very wary of institutionalized religion (of any sort). He grew up the son of a ....Baptist preacher, I think. I'd have to check Wikipedia again. Ha. So be prepared for some peripheral thinking *outside* of the catechism, the Canon, or perhaps the Koran.

He also is not afraid to talk about a woman's "dot" - or menstruation. In fact, he's one of the few male writers I know who engages and uplifts the sacredness (the secrecy as well) of life as formed through woman. In other words, he'll challenge your patriarchal centered notions of God, faith, and life. He takes phallus-centered worldviews seriously enough to lighten their hubris. He celebrates the complexities of the XX chromosome, while taking care to not gloss over stereotypical female weaknesses such as emotional and illogical. He also takes care to show characters with characteristics outside of their gender norm.

Anyway, that's just one of the reasons why I like Robbins. I don't agree with everything he purports in Skinny Legs and All. At times, he sounds overly cynical about God. I think he may be an agnostic, but he's also a mystic, and so I find him intriguing, refreshing, and honest. Those are qualities which I attribute to God as well, even though Robbins would probably disagree with my personalized concept of the Divine Oh, well. He's a hoot to read and I don't think he needs to short circuit his whimsical afflatus.
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