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Even cowgirls get the blues : a novel by Tom…

Even cowgirls get the blues : a novel (original 1976; edition 1976)

by Tom Robbins

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4,397391,116 (3.7)84
Title:Even cowgirls get the blues : a novel
Authors:Tom Robbins
Info:Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1976.

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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins (1976)


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» See also 84 mentions

English (37)  French (2)  All (39)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
It's weird. It's bizarre. It's entirely strange. Its Tom Robbins, and that is why I like it. A little over halfway through and am either laughing outright, rolling my eyes, or perhaps even going cross-eyed at whateverthehell it is that is going on half the time. Favourite character thus far is the Chink.

Hitchhiking has never seemed so grand. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Book on CD read by Michael Nouri

From the book jacket: The whooping crane rustlers are girls. Young girls. Cowgirls, as a matter of fact, all “bursting with dimples and hormones”—and the FBI has never seen anything quite like them. Yet their rebellion at the Rubber Rose Ranch is almost overshadowed by the arrival of the legendary Sissy Hankshaw, a white-trash goddess literally born to hitchhike, and the freest female of them all.

My Reactions
The last time (which was also the first time) I read anything by Tom Robbins was in 2002. It was for my F2F book club, or I don’t think I would have picked it up on my own. I vaguely remembered it was a strange plot but I enjoyed the writing style. My reactions to his writing haven’t changed.

Robbins writes ridiculously absurd storylines, interspersed with long discourses on philosophy, religion, history, etc. His characters a bigger than life and virtually all of them have some unique quirk – physical or philosophical. The “stars” of this novel are Sissy (born with extraordinarily large thumbs, perfect for hitchhiking), the Countess (a man whose business empire is built on feminine hygiene products), Bonanza Jellybean (a teenage cowgirl on the Rubber Rose Ranch), and the Chink (a Japanese American who has befriended the Native American clock people and become a sort of guru to a variety of hippie pilgrims). Oh, and let’s not forget the whooping cranes who stop at Siwash Lake on the Rubber Rose Ranch on their way two and from their traditional winter and summer nesting grounds.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how such a diverse cast could come together in a coherent plot, well, stop trying. You’ll just give yourself a headache. Robbins is nothing if not inventive in his plotting. Where his writing shines, though is in his wild descriptions / similes. A few examples:

The breeze in the grasses made a sound like a silk-lined opera coat falling to the floor of a carriage.

The sky was as tattered as a Gypsy’s pajamas. Through knife holes in the flannel overcast, July sunlight spilled…

[T]he Countess complained, his dentures working over his ivory cigarette holder like a chiropractor realigning the spine of a Chihuahua.

Entertained as I was by the occasional wild description and laugh-out-loud moment, however, in general I was bored by the book. All those interludes to wax poetic about this or that philosophy seemed nothing but an attempt to distract the reader from the lack of a story. Clearly, Robbins is not the writer for me.

Michael Nouri’s performance on the audio is wonderful. He has great pacing, and the way he interprets certain characters brings them to life. ( )
  BookConcierge | Nov 19, 2016 |
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues tells the story of Sissy Hankshaw, a woman born with a mutation (she would not call it a defect) giving her enormously large thumbs. The novel is a transgressive romp, covering topics from homosexuality and free love to drug use and political rebellion to animal rights and body odor and religions. Sissy makes the most of her thumbs by becoming a hitchhiker. Her travels take her to New York, where she becomes a model for the Countess, a homosexual tycoon of feminine hygiene products, who introduces her to the man whom she will marry, a staid Mohawk named Julian Gitche. In her later travels she encounters, among many others, a sexually open cowgirl named Bonanza Jellybean and an itinerant escapee from the Japanese internment camps happily mislabeled "the Chink." Robbins finally inserts himself into the novel as a character as well.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Tom Robbins, where have you been all my life? My first venture into this iconic author collection of work- ‘Even Cowgirls’ was like a resurrection of the finer things of youth. Passion, fearlessness, idealism, quirkiness, rebellion, individuality--- this book made me ache for all of that absurdity. I never truly expected to get in touch with that special ‘coming of age’ optimism again. Perhaps Robbins does know a bit about magic. “Magic makes something permanent out of the transitory, coaxes drama from the colloquial.” Now that I’ve found him, I look forward to meeting Mr. Tom Robbins again and again though his host of works. I hope they are as funny and poetic as ‘Even Cowgirls.’ ( )
1 vote Alidawn | Jan 29, 2016 |
My second favorite by Robbins, I think it made a bigger impression on my lesbianic friends. At certain points I can recall laughing so hard it hurt. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Though I was assigned this book previous, I hadn't read it. Even this time I read it in a rush for class and don't feel fit to give my opinion on it! Unfortunately it is one of those texts (and Woolf is one of those writers) that is so much talked about and embedded in the public consciousness that approaching this book without bringing a host of cultural inferences is really quite difficult. I read it already feeling I knew it, which is why my not-very-attentive (although complete) reading can foster nothing which in my mind is 'new.'

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Robbinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
LePere, LeslieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. The nakedness of woman is the work of God. Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps.
--William Blake
I told Dale, "When I go, just skin me and put me on top of Trigger." And Dale said, "Now don't get any ideas about me."
-- Roy Rogers
To Fleetwood Star Robbins, the apple, the pineapple, the mango, and orchard of my eye. And, of course, to all cowgirls, everywhere.
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Amoebae leave no fossils.
Success can eliminate as many options as failure.
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Wikipedia in English


Book description
Sissy Hankshaw jest wyjątkową dziewczyną, która urodziła się z niezwykle dużymi kciukami. W tej sytuacji mogła wybrać tylko jedną drogę życiową - została autostopowiczką. I to autostopowiczką niezrównaną.Po wieloletnich wędrówkach przez czas i przestrzeń dotarła w końcu na ranczo Gumowej Róży.Tam przyłączyła się do grupy kowbojek i wraz z nimi rozpoczęła walkę o wolność - swoją i żurawi krzykliwych.

[Zysk i S-ka, 1999]
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055334949X, Paperback)

The whooping crane rustlers are girls. Young girls. Cowgirls, as a matter of fact, all “bursting with dimples and hormones”—and the FBI has never seen anything quite like them. Yet their rebellion at the Rubber Rose Ranch is almost overshadowed by the arrival of the legendary Sissy Hankshaw, a white-trash goddess literally born to hitchhike, and the freest female of them all.

Freedom, its prizes and its prices, is a major theme of Tom Robbins’s classic tale of eccentric adventure. As his robust characters attempt to turn the tables on fate, the reader is drawn along on a tragicomic joyride across the badlands of sexuality, wild rivers of language, and the frontiers of the mind.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:17 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The outrageous bestseller that stars Sissy Hankshaw--flawlessly beautiful, almost. A small-town girl with big-time dreams and a quirk to match--hitchhiking her way into your heart, your hopes, and your sleeping bag. . . . Follow Sissy's amazing odyssey from Virginia to Manhattan to the Dakota Badlands, where FBI agents, cowgirls and ecstatic whooping cranes explode in a deliciously drawn-out climax.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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