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B Is For Beer [Hardcover]

Tom Robbins
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 13 2009

A Children's Book About Beer?

Yes, believe it or not—but B Is for Beer is also a book for adults, and bear in mind that it's the work of maverick bestselling novelist Tom Robbins, inter-nationally known for his ability to both seriously illuminate and comically entertain.

nce upon a time (right about now) there was a planet (how about this one?) whose inhabitants consumed thirty-six billion gallons of beer each year (it's a fact, you can Google it). Among those affected, each in his or her own way, by all the bubbles, burps, and foam, was a smart, wide-eyed, adventurous kindergartner named Gracie; her distracted mommy; her insensitive dad; her non-conformist uncle; and a magical, butt-kicking intruder from a world within our world.

Populated by the aforementioned characters—and as charming as it may be subversive—B Is for Beer involves readers, young and old, in a surprising, far-reaching investigation into the limits of reality, the transformative powers of children, and, of course, the ultimate meaning of a tall, cold brewski.


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Review

“…whimsical, absurdist.” (New York Post)

“Kids at heart, and anyone bemused by Robbins’ previous novels, will guzzle down Robbins’ latest brew.” (Denver Post)

About the Author

Tom Robbins was born in North Carolina in 1932 and raised in Virginia. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, he moved to Seattle to do graduate work at the University of Washington. His internationally bestselling works include Another Roadside Attraction, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, Skinny Legs and All, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, Villa Incognito, Wild Ducks Flying Backward, and B Is for Beer. The father of three sons, Robbins lives with his wife, Alexa D'Avalon, and their dog, Blini Tomato Titanium, in La Conner, Washington.



Laura Silverman is a writer and editor who advocates "truly shameless indulgence" on her blog, Glutton for Life. A former copy director at Bergdorf Goodman, passionate cook, and intrepid gourmand, she is in her element at the intersection of fashion and food. A frequent contributor to Edible Hudson Valley and Gather, she has a weekly segment about cooking on her local NPR station. She lives in Sullivan County, New York.

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars Aug. 18 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The man writes so beautifully that it almost does not matter what he is writing about!!!!
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  82 reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars W is for Whimsy April 21 2009
By Nicole Del Sesto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For Robbins fans waiting, yearning, for the next great Robbins novel, this is not it. Sorry.

It is, however, exactly what it professes to be. A children's book for grown-ups, and a grown-up book for children. (Which is what I based this review on, vs. comparing it to other Robbins books ... there's no comparison.) The writing is definitely child-like in its tone.

Gracie is practically six-years-old when she develops a curiosity about beer. As Robbins will do, he leads us on a delightful, whimsical discovery about - yes, Beer. The book is filled with Robbins's humor, philosophy, and magical writing.

I had a dumb grin on my face the whole time I was reading the book (less than two hours from start to finish) and I laughed out loud several times.

This tantalizing taste of Robbins's words has definitely left me with a craving for more Robbins. And perhaps a Red Stripe.
85 of 105 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously bad writing April 23 2009
By Richard Weston-Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a Tom Robbins fan who has eagerly awaited each of his books since he burst forth with "Another Roadside Attraction" in 1971, I am sorely disappointed. "B Is for Beer" is touted as "A Children's Book for Grown-ups" and "A Grown-up Book for Children." It is neither. At one point I surmised that he had started a book commissioned by the beer industry for people who want to know how beer is made. As the book got more and more boring I decided that could never have been his intent.

If you are a contrarian reader who is powerfully addicted to his writing, go ahead and buy it. I don't know how to warn you so you will save your money. It is just seriously bad writing.

Tom, you charmed us into holding on for four to six years between novels after we learned that it took you that long to release each one with its glorious metaphors, similies and crazy plots. It's been six years since "Villa Incognito" was put to the press in 2003. It is time for another. "Wild Ducks Flying Backwards" in 2005 wasn't even a novel and "B is for Beer" is a watered-down novella about which you say many people warned you "that I couldn't or shouldn't, or wouldn't bloody dare." Okay Tom, you proved that you could get it published. Now it's time to write something that again really scours the far reaches of your imagination and takes us on exotic (and erotic) journeys.

This morality tale is as flat as a Budweiser opened and left in a Seattle backyard for weeks to attract parched raccoons that don't know there are better ways to enjoy brewski.

June 6, 2012 It's been three years since I wrote this review. Haven't changed my mind. I hoped that complaining reviews from Tom's fans would encourage him to leap back into print with another of his gloriously wacky novels. Guess I'll have to wait longer. I'm tired of rereading his earlier books. I've even read all the books about his writing. This one by him certainly isn't representative of his strange genius.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars People of zee world, RELAX Aug. 17 2009
By C. D. Kraft - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Some of us are being way too serious on the subject of Tom Robbins' creativity.

He wrote a book about beer. For kids. And totally got away with it. And it doesn't stop there because it turned out to be a great young adult book. It's an exercise in Tom Robbins' distinct style for a ten year old. I think that's pretty cool but I don't think Tom Robbins put that much thought in to where his creatively should go or how he should break down his style for a children's book.

'B is for Beer' is dynamite in a pint size. It's different. It's a little subtle for the usual Robbins escapade. By the end it's not a book about beer. Gees, guys, didn't you think you were missing something by thinking the book was just about making beer?

I enjoyed the relationships between the characters. He broke down the fourth wall to deliver an extra sassy punch. Robbins wrote about a 6-year-old's curiosity well. Hey, he wrote about beer well, too. There's a lot going on in story that isn't expressed in these reviews. Borrow it from the library and have fun.

Please, criticize this book but don't whine about the book you wish Robbins would write. You're crapping on a good little thing here. I cried a little when I finished it. Robbins expresses a mastery of female characters and it's plain as day but just as lovely in this book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars B is for Boo Hoo. April 24 2009
By Ann-Marie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was definitely less filling than previous Robbins novels, all of which I've devoured greedily, one right after the other, until I caught up with his writing cycle, and now I wait like all the rest of 'em. This was a fun book, with some of the wonderful turns of phrase that I've come to demand from a Tom Robbins novel, but I wish it was more substantial. (Insert absurdist Guinness metaphor here.) But, as another children's book reminds us, "You get what you get and you don't get upset." I'm just glad he's still writing, and hopefully, there'll be another something new to read in about 6 years.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goes Down Smooth April 30 2009
By The Mad Hatter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Tom Robbins is perhaps the most solidly strange and whimsical authors of the last few decades. Between a new Christopher Moore Fool: A Noveland a new Robbins this year couldn't be off to a better start. B is for Beer takes Robbins brand of humor in a totally different direction--children's literature, well adult children's literature. The subtitle is A Children's Book for Grown-ups or A Grown-up Book for Children. B is for Beer tells the story of one little girls' infatuation and eventual inebriation with the golden beverage of choice of her Uncle Moe that quickly dives into a fairy tale [told by The Beer Fairy] of the history, creation, and distillation of beer. I found myself chuckling nearly every other page. Here is line I would now consider classic Robbins:

The week passed as slowly as a snowmans gas.

The coup de grace sees Gracie, the little girl, visited by The Beer Fairy to tell her and most importantly show her all she has ever wanted to know about the creation of beer. Gracie also learns a few lessons about perils of drinking, but also the benefits. Although, the topic is a bit adult I could definitely see reading this on to my niece and nephew or lending it to my Father-in-law to do so. I can actually picture him sipping a beer as he would read it to them. The book is rather short (125 pages with a few illustrations), but that was obviously out of intent. This could easily be read in one sitting with a tall glass or 2 to accompany you on the journey. It will leave you salivating for a second round. My favorite Robbins was and still remains Another Roadside Attraction, although B is for Beer is a great addition to the Robbins library. I give B is for Beer 7.5 out of 10 hats.
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