Thursday, August 6, 2009
B Is For Beer, by Tom Robbins
Tom Robbins is older than I would have guessed him to be. I believe he's got a lot of words left in him, but I left this book on my shelf far too long without reading it out of some fear that I may not have the chance to read a new Tom Robbins book ever again.
I'm waiting for certain people -- if they haven't already -- to go up in arms about this book. Not because it's about beer, but because the cover proclaims it to be both a children's book and a book for children, and Gracie gets drunk enough to vomit on her sixth birthday, and there's apparently a Beer Fairy that kids might just find exciting enough to try and conjure. Despite Robbins' warnings that beer is not for children, and that the fairy most certainly will not visit other such children, some people won't get that this isn't even actually a children's book (although I can't say I'd be opposed to children reading it, or having it read to them).
But maybe I've misjudged the general, or if not general then at least common, American mindset. I also expected to hear uproar about Barack Obama meeting with people at the White House to discuss their differences over a beer, but apparently if there are people who would construe that to mean that Obama is promoting alcohol as a way to solve problems, then they are fairly quiet about it.
I just think that many Americans still have the same mindsets about alcohol and its consumption that led to Prohibition, and that I believe contribute (among, obviously, many other factors) to other alcohol-related issues. Part of that mindset is that beer, and other drinks, should be kept completely out of the sight and mind of children. Now I don't think we should be supplying our kiddos with booze. But I think they ought to see adults drinking responsibly and behaving responsibly, and to realize that alcohol is not something to hide. And part of that is acknowledging the presence and use of drinks, and even (gasp!) discussing them with children.
Not that Gracie's Uncle Moe goes about that the right way. But he's got the right idea. Beer can be (and usually is) a wonderful thing. And one (or three) ought to be enjoyed responsibly with this little book.