B Is For Beer
Let me say that this is the first Tom Robbins book I’ve ever read. And I reckon it’ll be the last. Why? Because the writing here never rings true. It never feels genuine. Instead it feels like Robbins is focusing more on being clever than being good.
The gimmick here is that this is, as it says on the cover, a children’s book for grown-ups and a grown-up book for children. With the subject matter being about beer. It centres around a kindergarten girl named Gracie Perkel who gets curious about beer after uncle Moe decides to give her a taste. He promises to take her to visit a brewery but, when he fails to fulfill that promise, Gracie gets so upset she drinks a few beers and then throws up in her room (remember, this is a six-year-old kid we’re talking about). After that the beer fairy visits and tells her all about beer. The end.
The book is supposed to be written in the style of a kids book. But it isn’t; instead it’s clunky and sometimes even seems to be talking down to the reader. I’ve got a six-year-old myself and we read her four books a night so I’m very, very familiar with they tone and style of a children’s book. Obviously Robbins isn’t because B Is For Beer comes across as being written by an adult who hasn’t seen a kids book in a long, long time.
So the book doesn’t work on the kids’ level (though I doubt it was ever meant for anyone other than adults). But the clunky, false notes of trying to write in kids’ book style means it doesn’t ring true for a grown-up reader either.
The only upside I found is that this is a quick read – took me only an hour and a half. Which means I didn’t waste a lot of time with it.