Maggie Roessler's Reviews > Skinny Legs and All

Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 10, 2011

bookshelves: f-novel, l-american, read-2011-12

No doubt fun to read; rollicks along, and for each wacky metaphor that fails, there's several delightful ones. The non-stop verbal circus is bit overly flashy and self-indulgent for me, but I guess that's his thing and he rocks it. I wouldn't want every book to be written like this, but I'm glad one is. Still I do have some gripes.

First, for a book whose message is 'think for yourself!' it's awfully preachy. It's odd; some of the most interesting ideas revolved around the need for purely beautiful art as opposed to conceptual art 'fraught, simply fraught with commentary.' Yet, the book itself is loaded with commentary, is arguably nothing but a very colorful vehicle for same. Each time a veil drops, we should supposedly be shedding harmful dogma and drawing ever nearer to the natural world as it really is. In fact though, each time a veil drops, we get a big chunk of propaganda -- the world according to Robbins. I guess if you already agree with his point of view, then the whole thing could be really satisfying. I, however, think that he himself is dogmatically devoted to the myth that one should encounter the world as an individual in order to perceive it truly. I am pretty sure that, to the contrary, sometimes the fullest encounters with the world can be through groups - a community and its structures (such as political and economic processes and religious traditions) can actually lead to a deeper and truer experience of reality than one lone ranger all isolated and proud. Whether I or Robbins is right, there's no question that he does torture his art into a soapy mouthpiece (or a mouthy soapbox), particularly in the wildly disappointing Dance of the Seven Veils at the end. He needed a dash of Ellen Cherry's abstract aesthetic!

Gripe number two: Why must the objects be so human-like? There's cool scifi type reflections on how objects move, but the exploration of this imaginative conceit end there; the objects might just as well be oddly named humans. That's a huge missed opportunity. Also, conch shell was way too bland and I don't at all get why the panties would be giggly ditzes into gossiping about celebrities of all things, which brings me to the third and final gripe, the exploration of the old goddess religion struck me as totally inadequate. What is this female energy and why do the patriarchal religions fear it? Robbins mentioned a nurturing energy and a large sexual appetite, but he needed to give something a bit meatier here, since so much of the book rides on it. Again, this weakness glared worst in his wimpy descriptions of Salome.

Despite these problems, I always looked forward to picking the book up again and am kinda sad it's over. I may indeed just have to read another Robbins one o' these days...

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Skinny Legs and All.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Alan (new)

Alan Brinn Hi Mags. Hope your Visa papers fly through the air with the greatest of ease. Saw a movie from Ghana last night at Seattle Film Festival in which Visas were a problem. Anyway…if you're liking Skinny Legs and All I heartily recommend Jitterbug Perfume. Love,

message 2: by Maggie (new) - added it

Maggie Roessler Thanks dad! I hope the same -- and after reading Skinny Legs and All, I just wish I could have a chat with them once they get here! I bet Visas are very sophisticated; but when talking to my well-experienced passport, a bit naive as well!

message 3: by Alan (new)

Alan Brinn Should all make for interesting conversations. Winding down at school, but busy playing guitar down in Auburn for Snow White...Whooo Whoo etc. One bird at a time for both of us, eh?

back to top