Reviewed by Kristin
Author Tom Robbins claims that Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life is not an autobiography or a memoir, but just a collection of true stories he has been telling the women in his life for years. (And trust me, there are a lot of women.) The short chapters certainly read like a memoir and are even arranged roughly chronologically. Robbins is better known for his fiction writing and his experiences in the artsy/hippie/drug counterculture of the 1960's and 1970's.
While I enjoyed the entire book, I think the early chapters where Robbins describes his antics in Blowing Rock, North Carolina are the most amusing. In this tourist town, he claims to have successfully sold the sunsuit off his own back at the precocious age of four, in exchange for a nickel to buy an orange Popsicle. As the chapters rolled on, I certainly believed that young boy was fully worthy of his nickname: “Tommy Rotten”.
Robbins had an early obsession with the circus, and even talked his parents into letting him go on the road with a show the summer he was nine years old. The circus company was perfectly willing to have another worker to care for the animals in exchange for a seat beside the ring. Unfortunately, Robbins only had the chance to shovel monkey manure till the next town, whereupon his father came to pick him up, urged on by a worried mother. His circus days may have been over, but his lifelong urge to explore has continued.
Robbins includes his long history with a wide variety of women almost as an aside to the business of the stories he is telling. And this is a really long history, since he's about 82 now. He has three sons from previous marriages or relationships, but when he writes about meeting Alexa, the woman he has been married to since 1987, sparks fly off the page and it's enough to make anyone believe in true love.
From North Carolina to Virginia to Washington state, with an Air Force detour overseas during the Korean War, Robbins (as he tells it) has had a very interesting life. Since the 1970's he has written eight novels, none of which I have read, but which are certainly on my to-read list now. I was simply delighted by some of the individual sentences within the tales in this volume. He has an artful way with words that compelled me to keep reading. If this has piqued your interest, drop everything and head to the library for some Tom Robbins today.