Book Fight!

Tough love for literature


Episode 37: Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

This week Mike revisits an author he loved as a 17-year-old, and takes Tom along for the ride. How could that possibly go wrong?

Tom Robbins’ second novel, published in 1976, tells the story of Sissie Hankshaw, a beautiful woman with just one physical abnormality: her giant thumbs. Sissie makes use of her imperfection to become the world’s most successful hitchhiker, and later hooks up with the cowgirls of the Rubber Rose Ranch, who have taken over that former spa and remade it in their own image.


Talking points for the episode include: hippies, the band Phish, Tom’s grumpiness, Teddy Roosevelt’s love of rubber meatballs, metaphors for sex parts, and creepy uncles.

If you’re interested in the upcoming Barrelhouse-sponsored Philadelphia writers’ conference, you can get more information here. If you want to submit to the Barrelhouse joke contest, you can do that here. If you want to read the article Tom recommended in our MATR segment, here’s a link for that.

As always, you can stream the episode for free here on the site, or you can visit the iTunes store, where you can download all our episodes, and subscribe, so you never miss another episode. And please visit our sponsor, Powell’s, a great indie bookstore with a pretty tricked-out website. If you use the links on our site to get there, Powell’s will give us a small percentage of whatever money you spend. Win win!

Thanks for listening!


Download Episode 37 (right-click, save-as)