I feel like lately, writing has started to revolve around young adult readers more and more. Authors everywhere have been scrambling to write the next cool novel. The work they produce is still quality, with novels like The Fault in Our Stars, The Hunger Games, 13 Reasons Why, etc. But I was craving something different. So I picked up Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo.
Breakfast with Buddha is a spiritual fiction novel, a genre I've never explored before. It follows Otto Ringling, food critic and spiritual skeptic, and Volya Rinpoche, a Siberian monk, on a unlikely road trip across the country.
At this point in Otto's life, he's going through a bit of an existential crisis. His parents have just been killed in a drunk driving incident and he's been doing a lot of deep thinking. He asks himself a question I believe we've all mulled over before. What's the point? Or, to be more philosophical, what's the meaning of life? Through their cryptic conversations (the Rinpoche has a knack for being mysterious, he kind of speaks in riddles only it's like the riddles have no answers), Otto's skepticism towards all things unknown is slowly exposed to the Rinpoche's lessons of sorts.
Now for me, a 16 year old high school student, to read a book from a middle aged family man's perspective, you'd think relating to him would be a challenge. But the breezy writing of the book and the universality of the questions he struggles with make it easy to connect to him. I believe at some point in our lives, we all seek out some kind of reason, something to give life purpose. That purpose can come from the Rinpoche, religion, your hobbies, etc. Otto's soul-searching road trip is a journey everyone takes in some form.
What do you think the meaning of life is? Or is the meaning of life unimportant? What do you think about philosophy in general? Or do you believe it's an unnecessary study? This book can change the opinions of and give answers to the reader. In short, Breakfast with Buddha is a light, breezy read that somehow manages to tackle scary questions and ideas without overwhelming the reader.