In Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Tom Robbins assures us that we are not getting his autobiography or his memoir. What we are getting is a delightful collection of stories, vignettes, memories, and strange—but charming—non-sequiturs from a writer that can just flat-out write. If you grew up in the sixties, you know Tom Robbins from the irreverent, witty, wacky, bestselling novels that he wrote and that readers (me included) devoured the week they were released. With Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume, Skinny Legs and All, Still Life with Woodpecker (to list a few), Robbins showed a whole generation of counterculture youth the power of words when the writer has the skill to mix sharp wit with dramatic tales.
The stories in Tibetan Peach Pie are presented more or less chronologically, starting from accounts of Robbins’ exploits as a little tyke (nicknamed Tommy Rotten by his mom) in rural Appalachia during the Depression, and moving through a series of careers and numerous marriages that took him on a journey from U.S. Air Force recruit to beatnik, to hippie, to world traveler—all the time observing and writing about his observations. Especially entertaining for me was the section on his stint in Omaha while working for Strategic Air Command and discovering the art scene at the Joselyn Museum and the jazz scene at the Red Lion Inn.
If you read his novels, knowing more about his life at the time the books were written is a bonus. If you’ve not read his novels, just enjoy the ride.
#FridayREADS Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life by Tom Robbins ( Ecco Reprint Edition, 2015)