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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
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Critic Reviews

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

Most Helpful

By Amazon Customer on 09-15-11

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.


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76 of 87 people found this review helpful


By Mark on 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.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Colleen Kelly on 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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By Stuart on 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.

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