Chrissie's Reviews > Buddha's Orphans

Buddha's Orphans by Samrat Upadhyay
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's review
Jan 02, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: nepal, hf, philo-psychol, disliked, swap
Read from December 11 to 16, 2010


This book is finally over. Boy, am I glad! I stuck it out all the way through to the last page. The entire time I have asked myself: Am I annoyed b/c the book description promised so much and delivered so little? The answer is yes! Then I went on and asked myself to judge the book as though I had never read the book description. What do I think of it then? The answer – it bored me. The author makes a point to show that what happens in one generation is repeated in following generations. Maybe this is considered a common way of thinking in Nepal, but to me it just seemed as an unbelievable construction by the author. It did not seem as a portrayal of a Nepali belief.

Look at the title –Buddah's Orphans. Why has the author chosen this title? I believe it is b/c life as it is portrayed both in the book and in Buddhism is one of suffering….. Don't expect much humour, although there are a few touches here and there.

The time line is jumbled. At the end of the novel you learn about events that occurred at the beginning. The story never made me curious for this information. You do get history in bits and patches. Neither did this work for me. The history depicted never had much depth.

I learned practically nothing from this book. The plot line never engaged me. Occasionally I did empathize with Nilu, but that was it. The other characters were just people in story that I briefly encountered. Honestly, I kept thinking I might understand all the words of praise for this book if I just kept looking! I never understood: I feel like I have missed out on something that my head just doesn't comprehend. I am very disappointed.

Through page 102:I am NOT entralled. Not at all. Hopefully this book will improve, but for now it is a real disappointment! The language is just plain ordinary. Never, not even once, have I stopped and thought - "Wow, that was beautifully statedThere are many, many foreign words that I do not understand. That is fine, as long as there is a glossary in the back, but there is no glossary in this book. The story takes place in Kathmandu. but the streets, hospitals, gardens, markets, ponds are all named rather than described. You don't see them; they don't come alive. Neither is there a map, so you cannot keep track of where all the different places are located. All this information lacks relevance and just becomes a burden. The same is true for the numerous people mentioned. Each one is named and their occupation stated. You get too much irrelevant information. Supposedly, this is a love story set against the backdrop of Nepal's political upheavals begining in the 60s. So far the historical facts are m-i-n-i-m-a-l! So far it is a coming-of-age story about a girl and a boy, but it all seems rather ordinary. And the parents are utterly despicable. In fact all the adults are despicable. OK, ther is one teacher who is progressive, enlightened. But hey, all I really know about her at this point is her name!

I get terribly annoyed when I read the book description here at GR. I am very disappointed. I will continue. Maybe it has a slow start. There was no Kirkus review. I should not jump on books that look wonderful.. Chrissie, wait and see what others think first. Maybe it will improve. PLEASE improve.

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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily That is disappointing to hear. I hope it gets better and quickly. I will be watching your progress to see if this stays on the to be read list.

Chrissie Well, I am on page 210 and I am still very disappointed. All that praise in the book description is totally unjustified. This author is nothing like Amitav Ghosh. It can in no way be compared to an old-fashioned Russian novel. The characters just annoy me. We are in the 1990s now and sure there is a bit about the revolts in Nepal, but basically it is about a modern day couple living in a big city. You get none of the traditions of Nepal. So far the main focus is about being an orphan, the poor guy. I am being sarcastic here! Yes, it is too bad, but he is so self-centered and lazy and ugh I just don't like him. This is a modern day couple. You feel like this could be happening in any large city. I want more about Nepal customs, traditions and history. the book is suppose to cover several generations and have a world-wide scope. Maybe something interesting will happen...... I am about half-way through and I have enjoyed nothing.

message 3: by Maude (new)

Maude Chrissie, when I have a book like that I go to the last couple of pages and see how it ended. It is usually just as bad as the rest of the book and then I am SO GLAD I didn't finish it!!

message 4: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks If you are on p. 210 and still disappointed, the book will not likely get any better. And, if you cannot identify with the main character and actually despise him/her, it might be time to give up and read something enjoyable (I mean you're not reading this for school).

message 5: by Sonia (new)

Sonia Ah!! I was actually wondering whether to read this book or not and your review helped me make up my mind!

Honestly, love your reviews!

message 6: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret I started reading Buddha's Orphans and discovered that you were correct, Chrissie. I won't waste any more time on it.

Chrissie Well you guys, I SHOULD HAVE QUIT !!!!!

Sonia, just skip it. There is so much that should be read instead! That is nice my reviews help you. As I see it, that is why I write them - to help my friends AND to help me figure out why I react to a book as I do. Often I KNOW what my gut feels, but have a hard time understanding my emotions. Writing helps me figure this out.

message 8: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I give you much credit for sticking with a book which you did not enjoy. I am not patient enough to do so.

Chrissie Barbara, I was so naive in thinking the book description HAD to have some truth! How could my thoughts be so divergent? I so wanted it to be the book the cover said it would be......

message 10: by Barbara (new)

Barbara This happens too often and includes movies!

Chrissie Barbara, I checked out the date on the Stevenson book of poetry - 1905!

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