Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars55
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£9.98+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 27 December 2004
I thought this book was going to be more about Buddhism but it's really a nicely-written Domestic Troubles book. You can sense the author starts off being interested in the husband character but then she gets a bit bored with him and starts writing about the wife character instead. A little like the way the Simpsons started off being about Bart but is now centered around Homer.
The Scottish dialect isn't intrusive, and it's well-handled. But although there's three different streams of narrative, all the characters do tend to speak with the same voice. Sometimes it reads like someone having a coversation in their own head.
But it is entertaining, moving, different and enjoyable.
0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 January 2005
This book tells the story of Glaswegian Painter and Decorator, Jimmy McKenna, as he discovers Buddhism, and the impact this has on him and his immediate family as he becomes more and more committed. The story is told chronologically by the three characters of Jimmy, his wife Liz and daughter Anne Marie. Unlike other books written in this structure, you do not lose the thread of who is talking as you can clearly recognise each character in the writing.
The book is writen as spoken Glaswegian, which means the first few pages take some getting used to. However at the end of this book, I didn't notice this anymore and it suits the book.
The story is simply told and well-written so that you tear through the book at a blistering pace. The characters are well rounded which helps you have an interest in what is happening to them. This is one of the few books I have given five stars too and I thoroughly recommend it.
0Comment|14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 January 2008
My friend kept telling me to read this book because it was briliant, i kept putting off because i didn't like the title {how shallow] However I was very pleasantly surprised,
it is the first book I have read by anne donovan and won't be the last. It was not what i expected and i really enjoyed it, i thought that the glasweigan slang would be hard to understand but it wasn't at all.
I just loved the whole story, and the characters were believable and realistic, it was sad, it was funny and most of all it was great.
0Comment|4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 September 2004
Anne Donovan's debut novel already seems to have attracted a lot of attention, and it's easy to see why. These are exciting times for Scottish writing, and Donovan's is an entirely original new voice.
"Buddha Da" tells the tale of Jimmy, a painter and decorator from the East End of Glasgow who, now he is thirtysomething, is looking for something more out of life and feels that he has found the answers in Buddhism, to the bemusement of his family and friends. At first his family treat the whole thing as a bit of a joke, but as Jimmy becomes more deeply committed and turns first teetotal, and then voluntarily celibate, his lifestyle choices put ever more strain on his relationships with his wife Liz and his teenage daughter Anne Marie. As the book goes on, Liz comes to re-think her own life in some fairly major ways too, though her path is not a conventionally religious one.
The book is alternately narrated in first-person by Anne Marie, Jimmy and Liz; and remarkably is written entirely in Glasgow Scots. This has the effect of making the reader feel that she is listening to the characters tell their own story over a cup of coffe, as it were, and makes the story very immediate. Donovan thankfully takes great pains to avoid the slightly belittling effect that can sometimes result when writers get into the whole "Ah'm right puggled, so ah'm are!" territory: her characters are thinking Big Thoughts; they just happen to be thinking them in the Glasgow patter. I'm not sure how the book would come across to non-Scots-speakers, but judging by the London newspaper reviews it doesn't seem to have caused major comprehension difficulties. Although deeply rooted in the everyday, Donovan's writing is striking and frequently poetic. She has a great talent for letting situations speak for themselves, without hammering home her point unnecessarily: Jimmy's unfortunate encounter with a squirrel in the Botanic Gardens; his discovery that his old secondary school has been demolished; and of course the mural of the Buddha which Jimmy starts creating at the Buddhist centre...
The novel is a thoughtful, continuously surprising and ultimately very touching slice of Ordinary Life As Lived, and Anne Donovan is certainly a writer to watch.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 May 2003
As a Buddhist living in Scotland I was keen to read this story to see what representation the author gave the philosophy and it's Scottish, Nae, Glaswegian, edge.
And like another reviewer I couldn't put the book down, until it reached what I felt was a weaker middle act than the gentle humour of the preceeding one. The book really draws you in but I felt the path she lead me down was bogged down far too heavily in the life of one of the three characters in the book (written as alternating points of view from Father, Mother and Daughter).
It's the mother that you learn the most from, but like a lot of readers I felt a little cheated that she didn't give more attention as to what was happening in terms of the Painter and Decorator Father's unusual choice of becoming a Buddhist. Maybe I am biased, but I think that his story stops just as it was getting interesting.
I felt that Donovan gives a neutral view of the practice of Buddhism - even with what may based on the (very) Tibetan group Samye Dzong - and I felt that some of her observations were quite carefully researched and gently put forward.
But when she writes outwith of the Glaswegian vernacular I find her characters to be a little thin - especially the characters on the retreat near the beginning of the book. They just seem to exist so that the central three characters have got something to bounce off on. I find the same is true of Irvine Welsh when he writes outwith his "Ebmra-speak." The other voices seem a tad two dimensional.
The daughter's voice is very well developed (with one or two minor niggles - would a twelve year old really say "How's the Yogic Flying going Dad ?") but reading the daughter's inner dialogue was a delight in the main.
If I was being extreme I would say "what does the book offer when removed from it's slang ?" and to be quite honest, and I hate to say this, when I had finished it I felt that it virtually veered into romantic fiction territory with the relationship of Father and Mother. Is this a bad thing ? Not really, but I felt like she ditched a lot of her interesting trains of thought she set up at the start. I did enjoy the romantic, unspoken subtext though and it was a sweet part of the story.
Donovan seems happiest writing from Liz's (the mother's) point of view - maybe she empathises more with her struggle. And Buddha Da comes across as a more (and I am struggling to find the best word here) gently feminine piece of work in the end.
No bad thing either. But I had a niggle at the back of my mind that I was a little disappointed and can't quite put my finger on why.
It has the kind of feel-good factor of say, The movie "The Committments" - seemingly regular inner city lives transformed by something aspirational - but it never quite hits a peak although it gets close.
Donovan seems to work best when working purely observationally on the voice, because she's got "The Patter" down to a fine art here. And she's got a lot of humour but she loses it a little along the way as if it was written in two very different times.
Maybe I am being hard on her. I probably am, because Buddha Da was a brilliant read, I read it in three sittings. It is such a pleasurable book and it's heart is definitely in the right place. You could say it is a compassionate book and I read it laughing out loud a few times. It's warm and I'm over-critical.
0Comment|34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 February 2005
I bought this book as a Christmas present to my dad. Now the whole family have read and enjoyed it. Its easily readable but interesting enough to keep you reading it. I'd recommend it and say its not really about religion but how changes impact on families.
0Comment|12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 September 2004
Having glaswegian parents (and family) probably made me bias as it was like listening to them talking around the table. That aside, what I loved most about this book was the structure. The storyline, as you know, is about a normal painter and decorator father who "finds himself" through buddism. His journey and the impact it has on his immediate family is portrayed from each individual's view point which is what makes it a page turning, read in 24 hours kinda book - with a lot of funny moments that make you laugh out loud thrown in.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 June 2004
Like other reviewers here and elsewhere I have just read this book in one sitting. I liked the fact that the story was told from the three different points of view of Ann Marie, Jimmy and Liz.
Some of the incidents made me laugh, but others made me cry. The scene in the meditation room where Jimmy emotionally collapses after feeling he's let daughter Anne Marie down at his brother John's party, and then realises that he would have to be drunk before he could tell his brother that he loved him, was extremely moving.
Liz's longing for another child after she sees the baby in the church on Christmas Eve is beautifully told.
I admit I only discovered this book after reading the author's wish list of the actors she would like to perform in the film version. Dougie Henshall as Jimmy McKenna would be perfect.
Just hope that if and when the film is made they don't destroy the beauty of this book.
I was pleased with the ending: satisfactory, but not exactly tied up with a nice neat ribbon!
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 January 2011
This started off a great book, with myself hinding it hard to put it down during the first half, but the author changes who the main character is and puts in a side plot that seems meaningless.

To start with the book looks at how Jimmy is coping with what his life means and wanting to make changes, and he uses buddism to make those changes. The book then focus on how the changes Jimmy makes impact on his family and Jimmy's frustration with his family wanting the old Jimmy, while he wants to move to be a better man.

There is a confrontation and then the storyline changes track to focus on Liz (his wife), with Jimmy being ignored. Why this is a problem, is that Jimmy's story is incomplete and I was constantly wanting the book to get back to him to continue his story.

The link to Buddhism is only a link to his mid life crisis, don't expect any detailed investigation into budhism, as you will not get it in this book.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 September 2004
Anne Donovan's debut novel already seems to have attracted a lot of attention, and it's easy to see why. These are exciting times for Scottish writing, and Donovan's is an entirely original new voice.
"Buddha Da" tells the tale of Jimmy, a painter and decorator from the East End of Glasgow who, now he is thirtysomething, is looking for something more out of life and feels that he has found the answers in Buddhism, to the bemusement of his family and friends. At first his family treat the whole thing as a bit of a joke, but as Jimmy becomes more deeply committed and turns first teetotal, and then voluntarily celibate, his lifestyle choices put ever more strain on his relationships with his wife Liz and his teenage daughter Anne Marie. As the book goes on, Liz comes to re-think her own life in some fairly major ways too, though her path is not a conventionally religious one.
The book is alternately narrated in first-person by Anne Marie, Jimmy and Liz; and remarkably is written entirely in Glasgow Scots. This has the effect of making the reader feel that she is listening to the characters tell their own story over a cup of coffe, as it were, and makes the story very immediate. Donovan thankfully takes great pains to avoid the slightly belittling effect that can sometimes result when writers get into the whole "Ah'm right puggled, so ah'm are!" territory: her characters are thinking Big Thoughts; they just happen to be thinking them in the Glasgow patter. I'm not sure how the book would come across to non-Scots-speakers, but judging by the London newspaper reviews it doesn't seem to have caused major comprehension difficulties. Although deeply rooted in the everyday, Donovan's writing is striking and frequently poetic. She has a great talent for letting situations speak for themselves, without hammering home her point unnecessarily: Jimmy's unfortunate encounter with a squirrel in the Botanic Gardens; his discovery that his old secondary school has been demolished; and of course the mural of the Buddha which Jimmy starts creating at the Buddhist centre...
The novel is a thoughtful, continuously surprising and ultimately very touching slice of Ordinary Life As Lived, and Anne Donovan is certainly a writer to watch.
0Comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items

£8.99

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.