I have a confession to make. Some months back, I posted an article with my Favorite Quotes from Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. I did so before I had fully read the book in its entirety. To my readers, I am sorry. But now, as I just finished the 365th-page last night, I’m finally getting around to an honest review of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins.
This is what the back cover of the book will tell you. “STARRING … 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…[and] FEATURING … Bonanza Jellybean and the smooth-riding Cowgirls of Rubber Rose Ranch. Chink, lascivious guru of yams and yang. Julian, Mohawk by birth, asthmatic aesthete and husband by disposition. Dr. Robbins, preventive psychiatrist and reality instructor … Follow Sissy’s amazing odyssey from Virginia to chic Manhattan to the Dakota Badlands, where FBI agents, cowgirls, and ecstatic whooping cranes explode in a deliciously drawn out climax … ”
Phew! Now that that’s out of the way … what the back cover won’t tell you about is Sissy’s “condition”, Dr. Robbins’ aversion to traditionally-acceptable psychiatric methods, Julian’s need to appease his “high society” friends, and the Countess who (largely) makes the whole story possible. If you want to know more about those things, my friends, you’ll have to find them out for yourself.
What is it all down on paper for? What is good old Mr. Robbins trying to get at anyway? Well, as far as I can tell (and as concisely as I can put it into words), this book is about the nature of time and our relationship to it. It is about our human connection to the natural world. It is about the role that women might play in a healthier, more conscious evolution of humankind. And it is about love, of course (aren’t all of Robbins’ books?)
Interestingly enough, the catalyst that brings together cowgirls, Chink, Sissy, FBI, and other agents of destruction is these gosh-darned whooping cranes. Known to spend winters in the Aransas Wildlife Refuge in Texas and summers in their Alberta-Northwest Territories nesting grounds, these giant cranes suddenly disappear in the midst of our lovely little tale.
Authorities are vexed, of course, because they are the last surviving flock of whooping cranes on the planet. An endangered species to this day, the whooping crane is the tallest bird in North America and is largely known for its hopping, skipping mating dance. Check out this NatGeo video for a look!
Why You Should Read It
If you haven’t read any of Tom Robbins’ books, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues is a great place to start. I love Robbins’ style because of his comic tone. It is rare to find an author that can make you burst out in audible laughter. It is equally rare to find one that can combine this witty humor with real, tangible insights into the nature of existence. To me, Robbins is a comic and a philosopher, and his storytelling combines these two traits to produce tales that will leave you feeling good and thinking about how you can better relate to (and play in!) the world around you.
Even Cowgirls Get The Blues isn’t a fantasy novel. It is a book set in reality, with a few healthy stretches of the imagination, of course. It is a book that shines a light on some of the ludicrous inner-workings of civilization; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is a book that will help you contemplate YOUR unique truth.
Rating systems are over-rated. Ha! Yes, I said it. Who said that 5 is good and 1 is bad? Who determines that a scale of 1 to 100 is sufficient for measuring the effect that a piece of performance art can have on an individual? And yes, folks, that’s exactly what Even Cowgirls Get The Blues is, a piece of performance art.
So, in the interest of giving you a rating without succumbing to the shortcomings of rating systems, I’ve decided to create my own. In my system, red books are full of blood and gore. Pink books are full of fluffy love metaphors. Green books make you feel like leaving it all behind and living in the woods. Violet books make you lust for something new. Brown books make you fart and stink, but it’s always better out than in (I like to say). Orange books make you feel like eating fruit. Yellow books make you feel slightly queasy. Indigo books only grow an insatiable appetite for more books. And blue books leave you feeling, well, just that: blue.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, it’s time to rate Tom Robbins’ Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. Judges, please reveal your scores.
Judge 1: This is a blue book because we can’t help but feel sad for some of the characters at the end.
Judge 2: This is a yellow book because certain references left us feeling sick to our stomachs.
Judge 3: This is a pink book because it talks about love in ways we’ve never considered.
Judge 4: This is a green book because we sympathize with those characters that leave it all behind.
Judge 5: This is a violet book because it makes us want a new mode of existence.
Judge 6: This is a brown book because some parts of it really do stink.
Judge 7: This is an orange book because what stinks to some is also quite sweet to others.
Judge 8: This is a red book because not all good characters live to see the end.
Judge 9: This is undoubtedly an indigo book because it makes us want to pick up another of Robbins’ brilliant works as soon as we can.
Well folks, there you have it. The results are in. The judges have spoken. Even Cowgirls Get The Blues by Tom Robbins rates as a blue-yellow-pink-green-violet-brown-orange-red-indigo book that you certainly must get your hands on!
What Are Your Thoughts?
Have you already read Tom Robbins’ Even Cowgirls Get The Blues? If so, are there any lessons you took away that I didn’t mention in this post? If not, are you interested in reading it now? Also, I’d love to know if you ‘ve read any of Robbins’ other works, such as Jitterbug Perfume, Still Life With Woodpecker, or Skinny Legs and All.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post and I’d also love to start a conversation about the daily habits that you rely on for success! Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above.
I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond hastily. I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do!