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B Is for Beer by Tom Robbins
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B Is for Beer (2009)

by Tom Robbins

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2771440,824 (3.31)13
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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
While entirely readable, it felt really uneven, dancing around topics without making a distinct decision as to what kind of book it was. I liked the flavor of the writing enough to where I'll check out some of his other work, but this one just wasn't for me. ( )
  davadog13 | Nov 21, 2013 |
Synopsis/blurb.......

Have you ever wondered why your daddy likes beer so much? Have you wondered, before you fall asleep at night, why he sometimes acts kind of "funny" after he's been drinking beer? Maybe you've even wondered where beer comes from, because you're pretty sure it isn't from a cow. Well, Gracie Perkel wondered those same things.
So begins bestselling author Tom Robbins' first fiction in five years (and perhaps his most audacious ever), B Is for Beer explores various aspects of beer culture - ancient, modern, and otherworldly; brutal, infantile and divine - and dramatizes the surprising things that happen when the life of a feisty nursery school kid named Gracie Perkel intersects with each.
Billed by Robbins as 'the first children's book about beer,' this inspired work taps into the barrel of life's existential mysteries and is, of course, truly meant to sit proudly with his other novels in the grown-up literature section.

Review
'One of the wildest and most entertaining writers in the world' --Financial Times

'Tom Robbins has a grasp on things that dazzles the brain' --Thomas Pynchon

'Impossibly imaginative' --Vanity Fair

'One of the bravest writers in America.' --Chicago Tribune

'whimsical, absurdist' --Billy Heller, New York Post
About the Author
Tom Robbins has been called "a vital natural resource" by The Portland Oregonian, "one of the wildest and most entertaining novelists in the world" by the FT, and "the most dangerous writer in the world today" by Fernanda Pivano of Italy's Corriere della Sera. A Southerner by birth, Robbins has lived in and around Seattle since 1962. His novels include Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, Jitterbug Perfume, Still Life With Woodpecker, Skinny Legs And All and Half Asleep In Frog Pyjamas and Beer.
I like to step outside the crime fiction genre fairly frequently, just to keep my reading fresh. Tom Robbins is an author I’ve never read before, though I do have a couple of his books laying around somewhere, acquired in the belief that from what I’ve read about him they may well be quirky enough to tickle my fancy.
Well whilst struggling through Amis’s Lionel Asbo, I picked up this book in the hope of a short, light, entertaining diversion.
Short – tick
Light – tick
Entertaining - cross
I just didn’t understand the whole raison d’être for the book, styled as a “Grown-up book for Children” and a “Children’s book for Grown-ups.” Stunned that this ever got into print as it was in my opinion a massive indulgence on the author’s behalf.
We have a young girl, Gracie living with her parents and feeling the effects of their failing marriage. Her only confidant is her uncle, who lets her down and moves away with his latest girlfriend. Gracie has a slight obsession with beer, somewhat bizarrely. She gets in trouble at Sunday school when she mentions it. She has a drink, gets drunk, gets sick and is visited by the beer fairy...........do I need to go on? I’d rather have a drink.
On the basis that it was short and light, we’ll go 2 from 5
I’m not ripping up trees to get to my copy of Villa Incognito or Still Life With Woodpecker.
Acquired second- hand from a charity shop in the charming city of St Albans, so at least someone should benefit from my purchase. ( )
  col2910 | Aug 13, 2013 |
Great little humerous look at the amber liquid we have all come to love and hate... ( )
  Breathwork | Apr 7, 2013 |
Robbins uses some of the most muscular and flexible language I've ever read. His sentences are so finely crafted that each gleams. His skewed vision combined with his rarefied prose can make it difficult to notice when there's something missing. It's my opinion that as beautiful as this book is, it's also pedantic at its core. In a boring way.

Also, the spacing

of the prose

reminds me of term papers


which needed to be exactly 40 pages long.


It is worth reading for the joyful, playful, ebullient goofiness that defines Robbins. There are some hilarious passages, of course, and some memorable lines. Ultimately, for me, it wasn't a keeper, though I'm glad I read it. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Don't you just love the title of the book? Especially the "A Children's Book for Grown-ups and "A Grown-up Book for Children". *sigh* Tom Robbins, you just make me weak in the knees.

B is for Beer will not disappoint if you are a Tom Robbins lover like myself. It's fanciful and still tongue-in-cheek. It's straight forward and yet hidden. Oh, and it's absolutely almost as contradictory as those two descriptors were.

The book opens with: Have you ever wondered why your daddy likes beer so much?

Thus the story begins. The narrator introduces us to Gracie, the young child who innocently tries to figure out the question our trustworthy storyteller poses. Gracie has a zany, hippie, philosophical uncle who tries to teach her of the world, treating her as equal to equal rather than adult to child. It's this uncle that she adores the most who ends up disappointing her. And those events lead her down an alcoholic road of discovery.

After a birthday let down, young Gracie decides to drink a couple of daddy's favorite beverages...which essentially means, she gets toasted. I mean, seriously, ABSOLUTELY wasted. And of course who does she meet in her drunken stupor? Well, obvs...it's the BEER Fairy. (And for the record, I myself, have never been in such a state that I've met the Beer Fairy. I'm curious though...did I ever come close? Should I work on it harder?)

This is where this tour de force (um yeah) tale turns historical. The Beer Fairy teaches Gracie the ins and outs of alcohol...the history...how it's made...why it's desired...and yes, even points out that for most it's an acquired taste.

Gracie wakes up hungover...AND...

Well, I can't tell you the ending. Even though it is a fairy tale; therefore, you will sigh in that "happily ever after" sigh.

Tom Robbins hasn't disappointed me yet. If you're unfamiliar with his works, please start with Skinny Legs and All. (I hope to reread that one this year or next!) ( )
1 vote readingthruthenight | Mar 25, 2011 |
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In this story for both children and adults, kindergartner Gracie decides to find out just what beer is and why her father likes it so much. Along the way she discovers more than she probably expected.

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