Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

by Tom Robbins

Hardcover, 1994





New York : Bantam Books, c1994.


In Seattle, Gwen Mati, a half-Irish, half-Filipina stockbroker, has the weekend in which to raise enough money to avert financial ruin and perhaps jail. The market took a nose dive on Friday and will likely crash on Monday. The story of a greedy woman by the author of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

User reviews

LibraryThing member lithicbee
A bit of zaniness from Tom Robbins, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas mixes up the stock market, tarot cards, a monkey who is born again but was formerly a jewel thief, frogs, aliens, enemas. In other words, the usual mix of interesting and out-there subjects. I found it interesting that this book was just as topical in 2010 as when it was originally published in 1994. The main character, a repressed Filipina, was not my favorite for most of the book, but I did like that to the end, even as she grows as a character, she remains an individual, there is no drastic change in the way she is based on the events in the book. In that, she was very believable, or as believable as anyone can be in a Robbins novel.… (more)
LibraryThing member fieldnotes
I read this book a year ago and have hesitated to review it because of a weariness at the idea of picking it up again; the humor, the plot, the references, the second person narrative: it's all so heavy. It takes less than thirty seconds to accumulate representative groaners.

"How typical of your luck that when you finally arrived in a position to poach your golden eggs, the goose had a hysterectomy."

"Thus, instead of a strong, nutritious broth, pungent with the aromatic spices of labor and success, America has become a plop of separate little lumps of undigested stuff. Kind of like--vomit. Good-bye, melting pot, hello, chamber pot."

"Showed us a plastic jar full of something that looked like the spinal fluid of a scarecrow. The enema elixir. The anal ambrosia."

"A moment later, his face--glistening with the bring of the portable tide pool--is above your face, kissing your eyelids open, and you feel his stiffness, slowly, slowly, inch by impudent inch, sliding into you, pushing rapture ahead of it like an embolus."

What convinces his legion of fans to slog through this overwritten, neck-deep morass of orifices and cheap cultural criticism? Is it the edgy counter-culture references? The stoner-satisfying randomness of it all? I know poop is funny and so is fucking; but not in the hands of Tom Robbins. (Well, actually, poop in his hands might be funny.)

While his plot is original in its absurd and rambling fashion, the way that he crafts his metaphors and the way that he tries to approximate dead pan, extra-witty coolness is incredibly formulaic. I feel like you could write a Tom Robbins book with ad libs, or like that might be how he writes his books in the first place.

This was my second try at one of his books and it's going to be my last. If you need an English language humorist for young people, stick with Douglas Adams.
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LibraryThing member Mdshrk1
Having read "Another Roadside Attraction" years ago, I thought I'd give Robbins another try. Wish I would have spent the time reading something else.
LibraryThing member Dragavon
Robbins, Tom, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, New York, Bantam Books, 1994.
A story told many times since the sixties about the economic and Christian corruption and general pollution which will soon lead to the coming breakup of the system as we know it. Gwen, the stockbroker, meets Larry Diamond, fresh from the East, and from Timbuktu in Africa, where he has learned the secret of life though not the cure for cancer, which he has. He is still respected by the Seattle stock community for some reason though he has stolen it blind, dresses like an up-to-date hippie, and drives a beat-up, purple Vespa. As the financial world collapses he saves Gwen from her religious, capitalistic boyfriend and they head off into the blue - for T--b--tu, of course. Predictable, and, of course, all true, and all has happened in real life before.
Tom’s stuff show’s no growth over the years, with lines like, “The Father’s a frog, the Son’s a tadpole, the Holy Ghost is swamp gas.” Could it really be, that those who choose to read Tom Robbins are still concerned about such topics? His ability to string words together musically and originally is still amazing as when he discusses our difficulties in dealing with reality “that often seems to be unfolding in a foreign tongue...We’re attempting to comprehend the spiraling intricacies of a magnificently complex tragicomedy with librettos that describe barroom melodramas or kindergarten skits.” or Diamond’s kiss-off as he tipped the bartender with a fifty from “a tumbleweed of cash” while all around him drunken brokers were asking him for advice on the market after the day’s disastrous crash, “Poorer of some hopes but freer of some illusions.” Since he verbalized it(rather than written), it could as well have been a peon to the bartender as, “Pourer of hopes, freer of illusions” with the bartender and the booze as the nouns, ‘pourer ‘ and ‘freer.’
This book does have a place in the scheme of Ishmael, however in that it describes the breakdown of the “Taker Thunderbolt.” As our system continues its losing struggle against “The Law of Life,” just as surely as a glass bottle dropped from an airplane would lose against the “Law of Gravity.”
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LibraryThing member whirled
Around the turn of the century, I read and enjoyed two Tom Robbins novels (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues was a particular treat, as I recall). Not sure if fans consider Half Asleep one of his lesser works, but I really disliked it. Relentless school-boy 'humour', annoying second-person narrative (stitched-up stockbroker Gwen can't hold a candle to Bonanza Jellybean) and a puerile approach to sex are not a winning combination. Just...no.… (more)
LibraryThing member dulcinea14
Amusing book, but sometimes the language felt overdone, a little too clever for its own sake. To many metaphors, too much consonance (leave it to the poetry, please). It's a jaunty, musical kind of prose that I sometimes really enjoyed (his description of Chinatown toward the end of the book was a stunner), but when dealing with his character's speech or thoughts, it was often tiresome or too cutesy to respect.

The storyline was unique, a blend of fantastical scenarios (a simian gem thief, amphibious aliens, a jade enema nozzle that cures cancer, the disappearance of morbidly obese tarot card reader, Timbuktu...) and 1990's soap-boxing about the greed and corruption of the 1980's. Still, nothing really resonated with me with this book. Not a keeper.
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LibraryThing member AliceAnna
A very enjoyable book. I truly liked all the characters. I really wish Tom Robbins wrote more frequently -- perhaps his books wouldn't be as good if he did though. A great condemnation of Late 20th Century materialism.
LibraryThing member .Monkey.
I need to reread this before I can give it a real review. All I can say is that I was enthralled, a little appalled, and a lot delighted. Which is pretty much Tom Robbins in a nutshell. Which is why he is probably my number 1 favorite author.

(Yes, this is the same "review" I gave to Jitterbug Perfume. This one I also read a number of years ago. I can also add that it has one of my favorite quotes ever. Tom Robbins is amazing.)… (more)
LibraryThing member KristinaGiovanni
I love this book! Especially after having lived in Seattle, it's amazing how well Tom Robbins can capture the atmosphere of that city :)
Now I will have to plan a visit to Timbuktu!



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