Oct - 2021 - Eat the Buddha - Barbara Demick

Book Group 2 - October 2021 review


Eat the Buddha by Barbara Demick

Wow!  From self-immolation to caterpillar fungus, we were introduced to Tibet in the book "Eat the Buddha" by Barbara Demick.  Demick has written another book on N Korea called "Nothing to Envy" which we had previously enjoyed.  She did not disappoint in her Tibetan effort.  


The title is puzzling and originates back in the 1930s when hungry Chinese soldiers looted monasteries for food.  This is only one small historical event, included and presented in a way the reader is sure to remember.


The Guardian's review states 'Eat the Buddha' is a powerful exception :  a deeply textured, densely reported and compelling exploration of Ngaba, Sichuan, a "nothing little town that had just gotten its first traffic light" but that became, horrifyingly, "the undisputed world capital of self - immolations".  More than 150 Tibetans, and at least 42 of those in Ngaba, have set fire to themselves in just over a decade. How else can they bring their cause to world attention? Are our senses being dulled to this dilemma and their cry for help?


Demick presents both the historical and the current situation through several characters' lives and stories.  This is such a captivating way to learn about a country and she is well practiced in presenting this way.  She shows the Tibetans to be amazing people, they continue through hardship and through wanting the very things we likely take for granted: choice of religion, the opportunity to make a living, an education and a passport to travel.


We rated this book very highly, we gave it a solid 9 of 10 and we would recommend the read--educational and inspirational!