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)
This book is part travelog (through the midwest - somehow making places I never thought of visiting sound very appealing) and part story of possible awakening (I don't want to put in a spoiler).
The author makes the character of the Rinpoche (not really a Buddha) believable and likable and the relationship between him and the narrator evolves in a very intriguing way. The story is compelling and though it is not the type of book I typically listen to, I was glad I got it!
I will try to explain what I mean by spiritual. If you are the type of person that is happy when your Jewish friends, Christian friends, Muslum friends, Buddhist friends and even your athiest friends have a path that works for them - you will love this book.If rather you want everyone on earth to believe what you believe, you won't.It is in a sense, a coming of age story, as the narrator comes to understand how learning how to be spiritual changes who we are. It is told as a kind of hero's quest, a literal journey and an inner one.Will you become a Buddhist?Probably not, because none of the characters is really Buddhist, but that's okay. The author would likely encourage that you find your own path, and that finding your own path, rather than simply believing a book, will make you a more understanding person - even the path of atheism.Understanding is much more important than agreeing, anywaySo perfect marks and if the preceeding words made sense, this will be a remarkable listen, and I hope you share what you think.
Sorry, the formatting got a little skewed on that, and it won't let me edit it, so imagine all the beautiful white space the editor ate is still there.
An easy, delightfully fun and inspiring book that took me to a place away from the hustle and bustle of big city life, material things, labels and desires. This story was well told by a good and likable narrator.
I thought this story might not work -- that it would not persuasively crack the shell of the wise- guy westerner's sophisticated superiority well- represented by Otto. But for me, Merullo's depiction of the Rinpoche, so deft and light-handed, was delightful, surprising and illuminating. And the first person narrative by Otto, though it became a bit didactic in the final scenes, showed enough skill, wit and creativity to strain the credibility of the role he was cast in as mere editor of other people's books, and not a writer himself. I enjoyed and learned from spending time on the road with Otto and Rinpoche and highly recommend this Audible version.
Lovely story about an unlikely spiritual awakening. Made me smile and left me thinking. Awesome story!
Love, Family, Oneness
Can't choose between Otto and Rinpoche. Rinpoche is open to anything, has transcended anger and loves life - he has fun and is game for anything. (Goofy Golf?) Otto is a "good guy" and knows it, but he's still searching for "what it's all about" and doesn't know where to look.
His voice for Otto is kind and you know he's a "good guy." He has a cute and believable accent for the voice of Rinpoche.
There were a lot of them....Otto's relationship with his wife and children, especially his daughter. You can tell he loves them and vice-versa. Also, when Otto figured out that his sister and Rinpoche were in love. Otto became very perceptive during the trip. Hilarious moment....Rinpoche on the beach in a Speedo.
Just a really good, tender, feel-good book. Also compelling and funny.
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