Synopses & Reviews
Dinky, Jose, and Barbara are teens living in the Bronx. Dinky wants to put his father's drug dealing reputation behind him; Jose has just been dumped by his girlfriend who's moved on to the neighborhood's new drug dealer, Angel; Barbara's the smart girl who desperately wants to be noticed. Secretly, Dinky and Jose draw, write, and distribute "Buddha Book," a comic of outrageous tales based on their life in the Bronx. Things change suddenly when, in a fit of rage, Jose murders his ex. Jose wants to turn himself in. But Dinky convinces him that he's committed the perfect crime and would be in great danger if Angel were to discover the real story. The Buddha Book
follows Jose as he moves toward acknowledgement of what he has done and finds a way to confess it; details Dinky's escape from the clutches of his father to begin a new life; and traces Barbara's first steps toward becoming a woman. Lyric, inspired, and darkly funny, The Buddha Book
is a powerful novel that brilliantly evokes teenagers at war with themselves and with the place in which they live.
"By turns darkly funny, senseless and sad, this is a novel about resilience and passion..." (Kevin Greenberg, Book Magazine)
"American Book Award winner Rodriguez revisits the bleak streets of the South Bronx in this novel of guilt and redemption. Jose, who has murdered his ex-girlfriend in a fit of rage, and Dinky, the son of a drug kingpin, are the creators of an underground comic called The Buddha Book. As the chaos around them escalates, this comic becomes the vehicle for a catharsis, which culminates in an apocalyptic reckoning on the streets of the Bronx."--Philip Santo, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Library Journal
"What a joy to read this book! Rodriguez's writing has never been more accomplished, more lyrical, more trenchant, or more humane. With his alchemist's touch he has transmuted bricks to gold, transformed the quotidian lives of the South Bronx, of its young people, into a lens through which our world may truly be understood. In these pages you will find marvels but also a young man writing with the ferocity of life itself."--Junot Díaz, author of Drown
Dinky is the son of an incarcerated drug king, and is trying to distance himself from his father's reputation. Jose hasn't gotten over being dumped by a high-maintenance girlfriend, who has since moved on to the neighborhood's new drug dealer, Angel. Together, the two teenage boys are the secret masterminds behind the "Buddha Book," an underground comic book that tells outrageous-but true-tales about their life in the South Bronx.
Their already turbulent world begins to unravel when, Jose, in a fit of rage, murders his ex. With no witnesses, it's a perfect crime, but one that Jose can't live with. Haunted by the image of the girl who wouldn't go away, he searches for a way to confess. So Dinky and Jose produce one final issue of the "Buddha Book" . . .
Raw, inspired, and darkly funny, The Buddha Book is a powerful novel that brilliantly evokes teenagers at war with themselves and with the place in which they live.
About the Author
is the author of Spidertown
and a collection of short stories entitled The Boy Without a Flag
, a New York Time
s Notable Book of the Year in 1993. He is a panel member of The New York State Council on the Arts. He lives in the Bronx, New York.