Monday, January 21, 2013

The Angry Buddhist by Seth Greenland

Everyone knows that when a certain 
kind of single American female on a 
Mexican holiday drinks too much 
tequila she well get a tattoo.
Opening to
The Angry Buddhist
by Seth Greenland
Tell me this wouldn't make for a great HBO series:

After Hard leaves, she lies down on her bed cradling Diablo and looks at the Taser she had surreptiously liberated from his belt when he had gone to the bathroom after sex.  Why had she stabbed hiim with a fork when she had had the Taser at her disposal?  It certainly would have conveyed her feelings more forcefully.  Jam it under his armpit and the man would have thought the Devil had struck him with a pitchfork.  Why did she always do things in half measures?  In considering the efficacy of Tasers versus forks, she finds herself reflecting that perhaps she should stop dating for a while since it is obviously causing more stress than she had realized.

She is Nadine, Diablo is her pet Chihauhau, and Hard is the local sheriff who is married to someone other than Nadine.  Hard is attempting to break things off with Nadine when she stabs him with a fork.  The resulting wound gives things away once his wife sees it.  Hard is helping Mary Swain, a Sarah Palin type character, in her run for the local congressional seat.  Nadine has had an affair with the wife of Mary Swain's opponent Randall Duke the long time incumbant congressman now in the electoral battle of his career.  One of Randall's brothers Dale has just been released from prison, a second brother Jimmy has just left the police force pushed out by Hard over a conflict about a dog.

Jimmy, the angry Buddhist of the title, is working on his anger issues, trying to adjust his new civilian life through meditations and consulations with an on-line yogi.  He is finding it difficult.

About halfway through The Angry Buddhist, which I was enjoying, I thought to myself, this would make a great series for HBO.  It's a lot like Big Love.  When I checked the author's biography at the back of the book, I found that Seth Greenland was a writer-producer for HBO's Big Love.

I enjoyed The Angry Buddhist quite a bit, probably more than I did Big Love, but the comedic tone of the novel's first half gives way to much darker storylines by the novel's end.  By the time I'd finished reading, I was missing the lighter satircal touch of the first half.  Much like Big Love did, The Angry Buddhist got out of hand once it really got going.   I think both worked very well when they were about the core family of characters who were all very interesting people.  But once people start murdering each other, both stories got  harder and harder to swallow.  I'm not sure it's a risk worth taking, introducing a murder into an otherwise alreadly entertaining storyline.

But should The Angry Buddhist ever make it to the small screen,  I would watch the first few episodes at least.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would have liked this better if my copy hadn't been so full of typos. It was hugely distracting. But you're right, it would make a great HBO series.