Another Roadside Attraction is a wonderful book by Tom Robbins about Amanda, the second coming of Christ, lots of interesting insects, a hot dog stand, two San Francisco garter snakes (an endangered species), and a tsetse fly. The book is full of interesting asides having nothing to do with the central plot, but everything to do with the large confection of ideas that the author wants you to understand by the time you put it down with a satisfied smile after the last page has been turned.

Allow me to digress for a moment. The most interesting part of the Academy awards ceremony in 1999 for me was the part where Colin Powell introduced the two W.W.II movies. He basically said "It is a tribute to our ancestors of the W.W.II generation that we have the choices now that we have. I am proud to show you clips from two movies about what they went through. The Thin Red line showed the contrast between the peaceful lives of the pacific island villagers, and the bloody battles that went on around them. Saving Private Ryan tells a story from the European theater about the Army's struggle to save a mothers last son during the period immediately following the DDay invasion." For some reason I don't remember seeing clips from the other three nominees for best picture, even though Shakespeare in Love won.

In Another Roadside Attraction there are many asides like that one, although they tend to have more to do with making you laugh. Amanda tends to have adventures by the pageful, all tied together with pithy observations. For example, when she gets pregnant they have to stop the traveling circus a lot so she can empty her bladder. This makes sense to her because she thinks human beings were invented by water as a device for transporting itself from one place to another. The circus only plays a small role in the book, just large enough for her marriage to the guy in the loin cloth that set up the roadside attraction to make sense.

It is impossible to spoil the ending of this book, mainly because the joy is not in the destination, but in the journey. When I picked my parents up at the airport, I was on page 298. I had my Dad read the bottom two-thirds of the page, basically two skits. The first was a conversation between Jesus and God that ended with a CUT! The second was a discussion of Jesus as a clown being chased by a policeman that was a symbolic authority figure that ended with a CUT! He thought it was a very good piece of writing. The cumulative impact of going through the book from front to back is much more powerful, but almost any piece of it is lots of fun.

Tian Harter