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Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel | [Roland Merullo]

Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"The skillful Merullo, using the lightest of touches, slowly turns this low-key comedy into a moving story of spiritual awakening." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (340 )
5 star
 (148)
4 star
 (123)
3 star
 (49)
2 star
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1 star
 (7)
Overall
4.2 (287 )
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (287 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (7)
Performance
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  •  
    Mary McCarthy La Mirada, CA, US 09-15-11
    Mary McCarthy La Mirada, CA, US 09-15-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
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    FOLLOWING
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    "a thoughtful and often hilarious journey"

    This audiobook was a real pleasure--one I plan to come back to again and again. One reason is I love the performance as well as the voice of the reader, Sean Runette. I found it soothing yet compelling--you know, the type where you don't want to get out of your car and turn it off. Even at the end of the story, the characters rest with me--I have shared the better part of a week with Otto and his travelling companion and felt as if I was there with them.

    The plot is simple enough---a middle aged man travelling from his home NY to his childhood home, to the heartland settle the estate of his parents who were killed suddenly. However there is a rhythm to the book, a progression across geography, cultures and the thoughts of Otto--flowing out at first in a rapid stream of consciousness that had a bent to describe, label and judge, and eventually coming to a place of peace, home and family---and something more-- an interior voyage, to find his own heart, breath and soul.

    The entire concept of this book appealed to me, but I was afraid it would not be so digestible to my own middle aged husband. However, he really enjoyed this audio book as well. The rich imagery, descriptions of food so vivid that could almost taste it, and the humor....lots of humor appealed to my own Otto-like husband and will hopefully set him on a bit of a journey of his own.

    As for me, it gave me a lot of food for thought. I adored the Rimposhe's perception of the "real" America, his kindness even when in adversity, in fact, I loved loved how "stress" was dealt with in this story. So much to love in this book.


    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tomodachi Burke, VA 04-23-13
    Tomodachi Burke, VA 04-23-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    148
    16
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    FOLLOWING
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "New Insights with Every Listen"

    I've listened to this book several times - it's upbeat and very light, but every time I hear it I find just a little bit more insight on finding internal peace. I found the end a bit disappointing because it seemed a little far-fetched in a book that, although sweet and silly in places, always felt down to earth up to that point. I find it pairs nicely with "Opening the Door of Your Heart and Other Buddhist Tales of Happiness" by Ajahn Brahm, which I also bought on Audible.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robin bradford, ma, United States 01-15-14
    robin bradford, ma, United States 01-15-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "So Boring"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I could not recommend this read to anyone I know


    Would you ever listen to anything by Roland Merullo again?

    Probably not


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Runnette’s performances?

    No. The monotone quality of his voice left the listener begging for any ounce of deflection.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Breakfast with Buddha?

    The first six chapters that I suffered through, couldn't to listen to more then that


    Any additional comments?

    If I said the writing of this book was lackluster, it would be a complement. I have never read of caricatures more boring . I kept waiting for something, ANYTHING to take a turn; however, by mid chapter six I realized that it wasn't going to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Big John Montana 08-21-13
    Big John Montana 08-21-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
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    75
    41
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    0
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    "A lighter introduction to spirituality."

    Some people are not capable of taking in purely spiritual books yet, so this one has a lot of spiritual messages hidden in an actual story and story telling format, it's pretty good actually, but it needs to be recognized as a mostly spiritual book, not a mostly story book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Gutteridge Houston, Texas, US 06-06-14
    Elizabeth Gutteridge Houston, Texas, US 06-06-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    0
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    "A rich challenge to how we live & think."
    What made the experience of listening to Breakfast with Buddha the most enjoyable?

    The tension of Otto's beliefs about how he should live (a successful decent American life) began to expand and unwind in the course of a resisted journey with 'Rinpoche' that kept gently, skillfully and humorously confounding him.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Breakfast with Buddha?

    All the improbabilities of the plot were great expressions of the characters. The tensions played well against the reliefs.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Runnette – was your favorite?

    The reading was done very well.


    Who was the most memorable character of Breakfast with Buddha and why?

    All the core characters acquired 'flesh' and significance.


    Any additional comments?

    However, I found Otto's very last action in the story a disappointing crescendo to the dance of challenges that 'Rinpoche' had repeatedly posed to his beliefs. This accounts for the lost star.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joyce san clemente, CA, United States 08-15-13
    joyce san clemente, CA, United States 08-15-13 Member Since 2011

    Greedy, voracious reader since age five. After a number of eye injuries & surgeries, reading is hard. So now, I listen.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
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    57
    27
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    4
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    "just perfect"

    A tightly-wound guy sets off on a road trip with a holy man from Russia instead of with his sister, as he'd planned. It's very funny, thoughtful and thought-provoking, and the serene acceptance of ---everything!---by the Rimpoche is so perfectly described that just reading about it made me feel the calm. The narrator is perfect. The story is perfect. I loved every word of this!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Faisal kuwait, Kuwait 05-01-13
    Faisal kuwait, Kuwait 05-01-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
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    114
    15
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    2
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    "Good read"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Breakfast with Buddha to be better than the print version?

    The performance is amazing. The way the narrator change his voice to imitate the foreign language is so professional


    What other book might you compare Breakfast with Buddha to and why?

    Compared to other “seek yourself” books, this one is considered one of the best. Linking the ideas of the author with a story makes it very enjoyable journey.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I didn't encounter a complete change after reading the book, but it really helped me with reviewing some aspect of my current “material” life.


    Any additional comments?

    worth the cost

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hector Hanover Park, IL, United States 03-29-13
    Hector Hanover Park, IL, United States 03-29-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    8
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    "A Must-Listen!"

    I will not lie. It started off rough. The first half an 10-15 minutes didn't grab me, but once they set on the road...WOW!!! I couldn't stop listening to it. Sean Runnette did an amazing job with Rinpoche. And Roland Merullo made me laugh, made me think, and came close to making me cry. I actually think I might have shed a tear. It was wonderful. If you are open enough to have come this far, go for it. You WILL enjoy it...after the first 10-15 minutes. c:

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Macquarie Hills, Australia 03-19-13
    Tom Macquarie Hills, Australia 03-19-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
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    27
    10
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    0
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    "I loved it, right up until the last chapter..."

    This book totally captured me. I loved it.

    And then it fell apart in the last chapter.

    So, for the first umpteen chapters, 5 stars. For that last falling apart drivel in the last chapter, 1 star.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant United States 03-08-13
    Grant United States 03-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
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    0
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    "Get you thinking as all good books should"
    What made the experience of listening to Breakfast with Buddha the most enjoyable?

    The challenges of the writer to face the prejudices of his own beliefs while slowing opening his mind.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Breakfast with Buddha?

    The ending


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The miniature golf.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did have a few emotional reactions that provided both laughter and a tear on occasion as I faced my own demons.


    Any additional comments?

    A journey worth taking

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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