Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Strange Sister Cult of Tom Robbins

I have three sisters, all younger. One is 12 years younger, the other two are 3 and 4 years younger. We rarely agree on anything, but years ago we discovered a common denominator, Tom Robbins. It was a surprise to learn that my sisters enjoy his books as much as I do, although my youngest sister seems to have navigated away from the cult in recent years (well, his stuff hasn't been nearly as engaging, so maybe I can't blame her... maybe). I have an idea for a book, fiction, about four sisters who read Tom Robbins, but it is still just a rough idea of a rough idea.

Anyway, years ago I bought Tom Robbins: A Critical Companion by Catherine Hoyser and Lorena Laura Stookey because I found it used somewhere (list price is too rich for my blood!). I didn't really enjoy the analysis all that much, but it did add some detail to the books, so I mentioned it to sister #2 (the second to youngest). Joyce wanted to borrow it, but knowing Joyce, I figured I'd never get it back since she moves around lots and is quite the pack rat. So, I bought it for her... new. She was thrilled, and I figured "well, at least there are two people in the world with the book."

At this year's family gathering to celebrate every end of the year holiday and birthday (we don't "do" Christmas, but we like to have a tree, or two, and give gifts) Joyce gave sister #1 (the second to oldest) a copy of the very same book (it was bought used, but in great condition). Jeannette also got the trade paperback edition of all of Tom's books, which she has been lusting after for years. I'd rather have old beat-up hardcovers. I have a hardcover Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates that is signed by Tom, to Pete. I don't know who Pete is, but the book ended up at Four Seasons Books in Shepherdstown, WV and I bought it for $6. But, Jeannette is equally thrilled to have her paperback collection, and the coveted critical companion.

It's good to know there are three people now who own the critical companion.

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