I was honored to see Saltwater Buddha reviewed on Ross Anthony’s Hollywood Report Card. Ross is an excellent source of reviews for all sorts of books and films. Here’s his eval:
Don’t let the author’s name fool you, this soul-searching novel is written by a home-grown West Coast American in a light, accessible and entertaining tone. I like it. Ultimately, we are all left to navigate our own lives, whether or not we choose to abide by the road signs or not, we’re steering, we’re riding the waves. Though I gave it my best try one day, I am not a surfer; still Jaimal openly welcomes me into his world of passion for surfing, both the actual wet, cold, hard-rock bottom of the sport and the mistiness of the analogy for life.
I couldn’t help but compare this work to one done by a friend of mine, “Runaway Monk” by Bruce Manaka. Both are personal journeys of people brave enough to seek an illusive yet natural internal peace instead of a “normal life.” Both authors write bravely and modestly, not shying away from relating the pitfalls and misconceptions of their choices; both making a point of the questionability of their points. I enjoyed both books. Bruce’s is intense and journal like, Jaimal’s more of a narrative, he focuses on making the little stories entertaining on their own. A very welcoming read. Oddly though, the last two chapters take a break from this story format and instead (especially the second to last) breaks into a highly poetic prose. I like the idea, but I think it needs a bit more massaging, as is, I found the tone change a bit abrupt.
Another book that comes to mind is “Siddhartha.” Well, Jaimal specifically references this book, relating his wave-warrioring journey to Siddhartha’s nature seeking trek. Having read “Siddhartha” prior, I enjoyed the allusion all the more. Additionally, Yogis can’t ignore a stop and go relationship with his father. He skillfully weaves that drama into his big picture. At times he even choked me up with the sincerity of some very deep emotions.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed “Saltwater Buddha.” Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“The ocean is in constant flux, and when you spend a lot of time in it you become like a floating bottle with a message inside…”
“I started believing I couldn’t do it. And so I couldn’t.”
“No matter how much I wanted running away to be an act of Buddhahood, it was very far from being anything of the sort.”
“My father is a man of few words — often our time together feels like watching a silent movie.”
Profound thoughts abound, one that’s been with me for days is the idea that in order to enjoy the high of surfing, one must bear the much less spectacular task of paddling out. Yogis reminds himself (and his readers) that this is true of life on land as well.