Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins vs Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993) – Book Review and Film Review

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins

Sissy Hankshaw is born with ginormous oversized thumbs, which lead her to a life as the best ever hitchhiker, funding her travels with a modelling career as the face of a feminine hygiene spray. Eventually, in a convoluted fashion, she ends up at a health spa ranch in the dessert waiting for the mating season for a bird specific to the region and in the middle of a revolt of the lesbian cowgirls who are employed by the ranch. And it does get more confusing.

Tom Robbins rarely comes to things in a direct fashion, and I love the tangents that he takes his writing on. I found his obsession with all things vagina in this book… odd. It’s key and central, but there is both love and hate for it, for the vagina and the smells and discharges and pretty much everything else. I feel as though it is supposed to be empowering but it comes across to me as a man writing about women’s bits and it didn’t really work well for me. Despite loving many of the characters created.

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)

This is such a film of its time. It has the feel of a first or second film, with its awkward acting and kind of raw cuts and style. Gus Van Sant had already made a couple of acclaimed films prior to this, but it was an early feature. I recall loving it as a teenager, but whether that was the film itself or the fabulous kd lang soundtrack, I’m not sure. Rewatching it nearly three decades later, I enjoyed it but I don’t think I’d recommend it. The rambling nature of Robbins is very hard to translate to a film. There’s just not the space to capture the voice of the books, or even really everything about the characters. But by all means, listen to the soundtrack a lot. Do it.

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