4.0 out of 5 stars Tongue in cheek
If you like irony, or a perspective that's just a little off the wall, you'll enjoy it. What does the monkey represent?
Published 1 month ago by dorothy read
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wuf! So long, and thanks for all the frogs
This book is classic Tom Robbins in the sense that almost every page has some hilariously humorous play on words, or unreal observation about real events, including a lot of incisive commentary on the subject of Washington's allegedly wooden teeth. (I kept wondering if he got knot holes instead of cavities, and whether he used Terminix for dental services*)...
Published on May 26 2007 by Amanda Richards
Most Helpful First | Newest First
4.0 out of 5 stars Tongue in cheek,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)If you like irony, or a perspective that's just a little off the wall, you'll enjoy it. What does the monkey represent?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wuf! So long, and thanks for all the frogs,
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)This book is classic Tom Robbins in the sense that almost every page has some hilariously humorous play on words, or unreal observation about real events, including a lot of incisive commentary on the subject of Washington's allegedly wooden teeth. (I kept wondering if he got knot holes instead of cavities, and whether he used Terminix for dental services*)
That said, this is not one of his best books by a long shot. It starts slowly, works up to a purple passion and then lands flat on its squatty Buddha-esque rear end. The tortuous tale twists around a feckless female Filipino stock broker, facing the fall of the fickle stock market over the Good Friday weekend, frantically forming far-fetched formulae to foil her forthcoming firing. Her acquaintances include a traditionally built psychic, whose fall-back occupation is watching home movies of the lonely and attention-deficient, a philanthropic Lutheran real estate broker who desperately wants to marry her, and last of all, a born again Barbary ape with a yen for banana popsicles and larceny.
While living through the worst days of her lives, she meets a tattooed ex-broker recently back from Timbuktu, and tracks him to his den of decadence beneath a bowling alley. Through this earth shaking incident, not all of which could be blamed on the rise and fall of the bowling pins, she has an Alice in Wonderland experience involving a distant planet, a toothy Japanese doctor who is said to have found a cure for cancer, an inscrutable Indian and a whole lot of amphibians.
Highly pseudo-philosophic, with unlikeable characters and flimsy plot, the main thing this has going for it is the dry humor of the word play, and all the rain in Seattle can't wash that away.
*Not a Tom Robbins quote, but it might have been if I didn't write it first
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my life,
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)Spoiler alert -- the book's purpose is to help you understand that "...you thoughtlessly presumed that evolution was over with, that it had achieved its goals, then petered out. You, like millions of other arrogant chauvinists, had taken it for granted that the human species was the end product of the evolutionary process, its culminating and crowning glory. How could you have held that notion for an instant?" (Quoted from the book.)
I read this in my mid-20s and it (I mean this sincerely) changed the path of my life forever. This book has become an important aspect of the lens through which I perceive new experiences and make choices.
2.0 out of 5 stars A Sleepwalk,
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)Reading this novel is like watching a superstar in any genre having a disastrous turn. You've been inspired and elevated by his genius, and now you see him abusing his remarkable gifts with a tawdry performance. Robbins is the Icon of Imagery, the Master of Metaphor, the Tsar of Simile, a magician,a philosopher, John Fowles on peyote, Will Durant tripping... but not in this novel. If you enjoyed seeing Kwan skate in one too many Olympics, Mohammed Ali fight six too many fights,or the Bee Gees make one record, you might not mind this disappointing effort. If you're a Robbins fan (and if not, why not?),though, this is a rotten ostrich egg of a novel.
1.0 out of 5 stars Robbins' worst,
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)I'm sorry, but I'm a big Tom Robbins fan and this book was just terrible. After all the hilarious religious commentary in his other books, it just seemed silly.
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Great,
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)I don't know that I have a lot to say. I read this before reading any of the (obviously) very divided reviews here and I felt that I needed to add my own two cents.
This is the very first Tom Robbins novel that I have read and I was blown away. I think this is a work of great literature that will be around for a long time (and maybe only widely appreciated long after Mr. Robbins passing). Regardless, I was moved enough by his unique style of writing (which includes a lot of stream of counciousness) and drawn in by the vast and intruguing subject matter that I, literally, could not put this book down until I finished it.
I think it's really worth the read and you should decided for yourself.
2.0 out of 5 stars An OK Book.... a bad Tom Robbins book.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)You have seen some of the other reviews of this novel and you have read and even identified with the responses of the most passionate of the reviewers. If this wasn't a book by Tom Robbins, you wouldn't want to read more than the first couple of pages. Out of respect for the author who has previously never failed to impress you, you have trudged (or will trudge) your way through it. When it is all said and done you must admit that for a Tom Robbins novel, this one is is at the bottom of the heap...
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking,
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)of the four novel by tom robbins I've read, this is the most thought-provoking. what robbins does best is show the world from the view points of people -- and things -- you'd never even consider. mind expanding in the good sense of the word. this is what taking serious drugs must be like -- without the health hazards.
1.0 out of 5 stars everyone�s got a hard luck story,
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)I am wrapped in unfathomable disappointment, having just finished Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas. I don't know whether this is simply the worst novel Tom Robbins has written, or whether I grew up while waiting around for him to write another book. Perhaps the disappointment is not so much with Robbins, but with the realization that I might have really remained so naïve into my 20's as to accept these rambling philosophies at face value without seeing through the tired old agenda of attacking everything about the culture that produced me. It's like brutally exposing all of your own family's flaws without regard to the fact that the family across the street is no more hip and enlightened than your own....or worse, because Robbins does seem to acknowledge that other cultures are just as flawed, which leads him to either idolize fictional peoples from bygone eras or sink into full-blown misanthropy.
It is ironic that a Google search for the title of this novel, with its central theme of "don't buy, get high", returns only websites selling the novel. No enlightened debates about the theme, no additional information about the factoids he cites, no search for truth and purpose. Just book sales.
Nonetheless, I'm not an aging hippie so this is not central to my disappointment. I was with him until the last 15 pages, where I found myself saying out loud, "WHAT is she DOING?" Perhaps he thought the twist (or lack thereof) at the end was a brilliant device for subverting the reader's expectations and adding a skin of cynicism to the entire theme, but I felt cheated, made worse by the second person voice which insinuated insult as well. The reader is set up to believe this is a story about redemption. After all, the whole thing takes place during Easter weekend, what could be more obvious? And the "born-again" monkey? Or maybe it's just that Gwen is so immoral and exploitive that the reader can't imagine why she's worth reading about unless we are to witness her transformation. But, the monkey turns out not to be born-again after all, just the same old thief. And Gwen isn't born again either, she too remains the same old thief. And there's that second person again, pointing the finger directly at YOU as though to say, "dear reader, you are the Fool in this deck of cards". I don't know what Seattle is like, but I can't imagine where Robbins would get the idea that most of us are self-centered and materialistic, much less incapable of change. Indeed, it is the very transformations that come with age that lead many of his most loyal readers, and I count myself among them, to become disillusioned with his shallow lecturing and formulaic plots. Would it have been too predictable to have his characters change, become better? Perhaps. But it all seems pointless if they don't. Like a hippy who never grows up.
Still, for all that, I love Robbin's quirkiness, his sense of humor, and his masterful command of language. Only he could delight me with descriptions of Peptol Bismal as the color of "Flamingo diarrhea". There is no other novelist who makes me pause, reread sentences, and spend a moment just reveling in the language.
I also enjoyed the way he managed to articulate for me the real reasons why I'm so annoyed by new age goddess worship (kudos to Q-jo on that one). And just when you think Robbins is shoving stereotypically leftie propaganda down your throat, he comes out of left field with the perspective that to pity and cater to the homeless is to denigrate them further by denying them the power of their own choices. I certainly didn't expect a lecture on personal responsibility, but he did make me think. Too bad this was the only page in the entire novel that did.
I agree with the other reviewers, don't choose this book as your first Tom Robbins novel, and skip it entirely unless you're a huge fan (and even then keep your expectations low). I disagree, however, with reviewers who imply that Tom Robbins is the only alternative to John Grisham or Oprah recommendations; on the contrary, Robbins is no less "pop" as novelists go, and such thinking betrays a serious underestimation of the rich book choices for anyone who cares to look beyond the new releases.
Robbins normally blends the most creative and unlikely characters to form an intriguing story, but in this case what's so weird about a fat psychic? Is there any other kind? A greedy stockbroker? That's cliché, not creative. A presumptuous, pretentious anti-establishment 'shroom eater? I've met him (and her) lots of times, and he's never struck me as particularly insightful. A straight-laced Lutheran real estate agent? Am I supposed to think he's wacky just because he owns a monkey? Please. The characters are no more creative than the tired theme trotted out from past novels. You want quirky? Try "The Baron in the Trees" by Calvino. And I just can't get over my hatred for Gwen, from the shoddy treatment of her father to her exploitation of her devoted boyfriend to endangerment of the poor monkey, all of it growing progressively worse in the last pages and all for no good reason other than to force me to walk in the shoes of someone devoid of any redeeming quality other than her looks and her pitiful need for security after her unstable childhood. But, everyone's got a hard luck story.
5.0 out of 5 stars don't compair, just read,
This review is from: Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Paperback)If you like all of the other books by T.R. and you like them to the point of idolizing him you will not like this book. On the other hand if you like an interesting story with alot of crazy facts and even crazier ideas you will love this. I've read it and listened (on tape) it at least eight times.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins (Paperback - Nov. 1 1995)
CDN$ 18.95 CDN$ 13.68
Usually ships in 2 to 4 weeks