Book Review: Still Life With Woodpecker
This is less of a book review and more of a confession.
I was in a Paris hostel at the end of a fast-paced, somewhat derenged week (it one hell of a vacation) and feeling a little down now that it was coming to an end, when a hostel-hopping Australian started giving me life advice. His first piece of advice was to read Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robins, but first, he said, read his more popular novel Still Life With Woodpecker to make sure I can handle is writing style.
Once back in Lawrence, Kansas, I started looking for this strangely title book, Still Life With Woodpecker. The first two book stores didn't have it. The third one had a used copy and it was now mine. The first page was stamped "Library of Cory Dale Hoover" (I hope that's not an elementary school, for the kids sake) and someone had written his or hers own personal maxim below the last line of the last page - not that I skipped forward to it, in fact it was pretty cool to discover it after reading the whole book.
Let me just get to it.. I EFFING LOVE THIS BOOK. After the first time I read it, I found myself flipping through it's pages like as if it was an almanac, so I could pass off quotes of Tom Robbin's genius as my own on online dating sites. I started shoving it in the hands of girlfriends and warned them to NOT go directly to the last page (they always did). Not that I needed to know, but while reading it a second time in the Phoenix air port, a stranger came up to me to make sure I knew that it was a really good book. And that never happens, especially in airports where the polite thing to do is to look at the ground.
A college English professor once told our class that, when writing anything, delete your most clever sentence. Tom Robins never heard this writing tip, or maybe he did but he didn't listen. Every page is filled with dazzling wordplay and comic genius, and there's enough quotable lines in the book to "puddle the depressions of the moon, like desire puddles the folds of the brain" (there's one right there!).
Read it. It's sort of a life changer.