Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins (review by Sean K. ’14)

Still Life with WoodpeckerStill Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Still Life with Woodpecker falls into a list of novels that should be read while readers still possess the youthful quality of imaginative curiosity that adulthood so viciously takes away. Robbins’ adolescent quirkiness creates a rebellious love story wild in character yet sober in its philosophical musings. Bernard (Woodpecker), a young explosives expert who takes pride in his anarchist nature, and Leigh-Cheri, the daughter of a formerly-royal European family, fall in love in a Seattle bar, leading them down a bizarre path of obstacles such as the death of a Chihuahua and Leigh-Cheri’s rise to queendom of an Arab rebellion. Consistent humor pervades the randomness and absurdities of the plot. Readers will learn tidbits of knowledge from the reasoning behind the Camel cigarette packaging to how to make love stay, and ultimately that it is never too late to enjoy childhood. Robbins is a hit-or-miss author; many cannot digest the scrambled nature of his storytelling. Indeed, this is no classical masterpiece. However, to most young readers, Woodpecker will stand as a silly, romantic, and adventurous reflection on life’s amorphous realities, and will serve them in the journey through adulthood. Moreover, Robbins’ novel provides a nostalgic reminder of the importance of the human quality of imagination. – Sean K. ‘14

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