Thursday, October 25, 2012

Literary Bite: Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo

I really enjoyed this book! I borrowed Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo from my mom last time I was home, and judging books by their covers –  this cover is GREAT.

The story is totally predictable – a well-intentioned but stubborn man experiences enlightenment on a road trip with a spiritual guru – but no less enjoyable for its predictability.

The writing is readable and funny and could be cheesy but really isn't! The main character, Otto Ringling (seriously? That is the character name of choice?), is tricked into going on this road trip by his kooky sister. Volya Rinpoche, the guru, is delightfully impermeable and just genuinely happy. And reading about someone so happy made me happy.

Otto shows Volya things about America, like mini-golf, bowling, swimming, and baseball, while Volya teaches Otto about meditation and yoga. The chapter about yoga is hilarious. And on the more serious front, the chapter of Volya's speech at Notre Dame and the last chapter are my favorites.

Also, Otto works in food book publishing and part of their road trip from New York to North Dakota is to stop at interesting and good restaurants. (We all know I like some good food writing...)

Personally I’m all set on the spiritual front, but this book offers some very good (very universal, non-denominational, or even particularly religious) ideas on life. The narrative ventured into the realm of preachy at times, it could be just a bit too political for my fiction taste, but never really crossed the annoyance-line.

This was a quick read for me – just a couple days – and I would definitely recommend it!