When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger---and amuse himself---he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world---and more important, his life---through someone else's eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing. In Roland Merullo's masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder, bemusement, and wry humor of a man who unwittingly finds what he's missing in the most unexpected place.
©2007 Roland Merullo (P)2011 Tantor
"The skillful Merullo, using the lightest of touches, slowly turns this low-key comedy into a moving story of spiritual awakening." (Booklist)
It was a lovely story that I had trouble pulling myself away from. Made me think about life and how we behave and react affects our life and being. Closest I've been to pondering faith in a very long time.
This is a nicely written novel that I found both entertaining & gently thought provoking. I left the Midwest decades ago, but the author's descriptions brought various pleasant memories back to me, quite in addition to enjoying this unique twist to a road trip story.
Boring? A bit. Long-winding? Somewhat. Easy read? Yes. Enjoyable? Yes. Sci-fi-ish? Yes (to me. especially, in the way the story ends, or not ends.)
Makes me want to go onto the next chapter in the trilogy.
This story reached into my mind and made a few adjustments. The fly on the wall view of Otto's transformation which was guided but not pushed by his travel companion was nothing short of enlightening. I am changed, too. THAT is a great read.
This is a great book. The author shares how to live a good life without judgement, preaching or threatening. I cannot wait to hear the next one in the series.
The story is of a 40-something year old man, married with two teenaged children. Having been brought up in a way that many white Americans are, making it easy to relate to the main character. Excellent story of crossing those beliefs with a more universal set of teachings. Certainly puts a lot of things in perspective, while offering a few laughs and many, many grins because I could associate with the characters and story.
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