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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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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.


78 of 89 people found this review helpful

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Not sure what it tried to accomplish

What disappointed you about Breakfast with Buddha?

I seldom write reviews but I felt with this book I need to write one... maybe I can save you from wasting hours of your life. I hope the author never reads this as I don't want to bring pain into his life, yet I do this to spare others from this book.

Let me start saying that I love buddhism and good stories. Yet, I kept waiting for this book to become something else than a guy complaining about everything. Unfortunately it never did. This book did not provide an interesting story nor any sort of buddhist insight beyond the utterly most pedestrian buddhism.

Save your time and money.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Weak Theory & Tedious Fictional Adventure

The only way this book would have worked for me would have been if it was nonfiction and based on an actual experience of a road trip and a Buddhist guru. Scratch that--the "contrast character" could have been any serious spiritual seeker--not even a "guru" as long as the character was real. If you have ever spent time with an actual spiritual guide you will find the portrayal of this "guru" one dimensional, juvenile and totally missing the mark. What's more--the characters, premise of the action and spiritual lessons presented lack depth and believability. All the talk of food, hotel rooms, and this road trip experience became self absorbed and as such quickly boring. To me, a humorless fantasy that misleads and disappoints. I really wish I hadn't wasted time on this book.

50 of 62 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Reno, NV, United States
  • 02-25-17

A pleasant surprise with philosophical depth

I was pleasantly sucked into the book. A curmudgeonly yet pleasant guy with a good life finds himself on a road trip with a sort-of Buddhist guru. The book is very male-oriented, but I enjoyed the philosophical discussions and was impressed with the teachings, which held surprising depths. Despite being a rather gentle book, it was surprisingly compelling, to me anyway. The ending was a little weak but it's setting up a trilogy so I guess that's OK. Grade: A-

The narration perfectly matches the book's vibe.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Hector
  • Hanover Park, IL, United States
  • 03-29-13

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:

32 of 41 people found this review helpful

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better than expected

I bought this audiobook not knowing what it was. Fiction? A prayer book? Religious book? I admit I struggled starting the book but I soon became hooked. I have had the same issues with religion as the main character. it is important to note that a good or great life can become so much more fulfilling.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Buy this for someone you care about.

It's a story about the value of family, friendship, and individual world view. How are you Being in our ever changing world? This will help you to examine your perspective without suggestion or judgement. Nice story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

The conversations in this book are so well done it's as if you are a fly on the wall and hearing amazing honest back and forth between two very well made characters. Merullo does an excellent job teaching you Buddhism without actually teaching you Buddhism. It is a great story and has an amazing message. There I used excellent three times and BOOM amazing also three times in this review.

love you so very much,
Justin

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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No substance

I guess I was expecting some insightful observations, but there is thing here but a road trip with (2) very boring characters. Very flat narration. Not much to enjoy apart from a few humorous interludes. Disappointing.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Too self involved of a story for me.

What disappointed you about Breakfast with Buddha?

I think there were some good messages but they were buried in too much detail about the food the author ate. The author was way too self involved for my taste. He came off arrogant and self important.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Colleen Kelly
  • 10-31-17

highly recommended

So easy to listen to! Some really easy life steps for anyone. Child friendly. Highly recommend.

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  • Stuart
  • 03-19-15

Funny and heartwarming

Well told, entertaining and thought provoking. It might not change my life but it's good to be reminded every now and then of what it's really all about. And good to have it done in such a way.