August 16, 2003 - Amazon Books: Aama in America: A Pilgrimage of the Heart by RPCV Broughton Coburn

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nepal: Peace Corps Nepal : The Peace Corps in Nepal: August 16, 2003 - Amazon Books: Aama in America: A Pilgrimage of the Heart by RPCV Broughton Coburn

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Aama in America: A Pilgrimage of the Heart by RPCV Broughton Coburn

Aama in America: A Pilgrimage of the Heart by RPCV Broughton Coburn

Aama in America: A Pilgrimage of the Heart
by Broughton Coburn

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Account of a cross-country American journey the author undertook with an 84-year-old Himalayan woman he befriended while working in Nepal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

American Peace Corps worker Broughton Coburn records his cross-country tour of America during which he was accompanied by eighty-four-year-old Himalayan wisewoman Vishnu Maya, and shares his companion's unique view of our country and her spiritual insights. Reprint. Tour.

Customer Reviews
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Aama in our hearts..., May 30, 2001
Reviewer: L. E. Greene from New York, New York USA
This book finds a personal meaning for each person who will read it. Mr. Coburn takes his "adopted Mother"/friend, Aama, an elderly Nepalese woman, to his home--America. Aama has been confined to her village all of her life, but she realizes that this journey will be the last. This is scary for her, but she also realizes it is important that she have this experience. As I read this book, I became aware of how my view of America was numbed by ethnocentric attitudes. What I had taken for granted, felt assured of, was realigned by Aama and her fresh observations. Thank you, Mr. Coburn, for the introduction. Since this reading, I have tried to slow down, listen, and respect my surroundings. Too gushy? Too real, is more like it. America is beautiful, yet embarassing, as you travel with Aama through the natural beauty of our land and waters, to the modernity and wastes of our culture. This is not a book by a major novelist or writer, but who cares? I'm glad he shared what became a major life passage for him. Namaste.

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a delightful read, October 22, 1999
Reviewer: A reader from Raleigh, North Carolina
I found this book to be absolutely delightful! Seeing America through Aama's eyes was rather refreshing - how right she was about so many things. We Americans are not as reverent to our Creator as we should be, nor do we give Him thanks for all He has given us. And how refreshing to see a human being enjoy things with utter and thankful delight, without reserve, cynicism or skepticism! Besides, the book was just plain funny. Aama's thoughts and interpretations of the sights and events she experiences in America are hilarious and heart warming. I found myself wanting to hug her tight and talk to her so I could see life the way she does and learn from her. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I don't think the author belittles Aama at all. He is quite honest about the times when he knows he didn't appreciate her like he should of - he admits he was wrong at times. In the end, he realizes he has loved her with his whole heart and he is grateful for having known her.

I will admit, however, that at times, I was a little concerned about exactly where his head was when it came to his relationship with Didi. I trust that they are still together and enjoying living their lives together.

A good, fun, light-hearted read that makes you quietly think about the more important things of life!!!

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Disappointing, September 21, 1999
Reviewer: A reader from New York, NY
A difficult book to slog through, what with the author's heavy handed commentary, wooden dialogue, awkwardly constructed scenes and cloying sentiment. What a wonderful opportunity, and what a terrific character Aama could have been! As poor as the writing is, it could have been made better by a good editor, but that opportunity seems to have been lost as well. Finally, as a character in his own book, the author is less than sympathetic, to put it mildly. His girlfriend, Didi, and Aama must have had a lot of patience -- more than I had reading this book.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Coburn is an organ grinder and his book..., May 9, 1999
Reviewer: Mark E. Valentine (see more about me) from Colorado
Mr. Coburn is an organ grinder and his book is a parade of his toy, Aama, a diminutive woman from a primitive culture who tours with the author and his other woman on a string, his girlfriend, Didi, throughout selected sites in our "advanced civilization" (his terms), America.

This travel book had so much potential to become a seering analysis of the destructive forces of our culture that has us caterwauling out of control, but Mr. Coburn seems to be too enraptured with himself and the esteem that he seems to gather while traveling with an entourage of two very different women.

Coburn introduces Aama to air travel, to Disneyland, to the forests and farmlands of America. The octagenarian woman from Nepal responds to these American landmarks with childlike humor and dismay and always with cute simplicity. When Aama speaks with criticism about Americans, Mr. Coburn, et. al., chuckle and chortle and do not take the primitive woman seriously--of course, until it is too late and she is no longer here.

Further, Mr. Coburn relates a sub-story in his book, relating how difficult it is for him to commit to any lasting relationship to his girlfriend and travel partner, Didi. He keeps her at bay--no, worse, he abandons her for a month-long fling in Seattle, only to wind up desolate and destitute and remorseful. This book seems to be a record of his see-saw emotions: I want to have a commited relationship with her v. I think that there is someone else that just might be better for me. It is so tasteless that in his postscript to the book, he relates his "score!" by stating that he finally had a child with his girlfriend....but nothing else.

Sigh. I was hoping that this book might be a probing analysis of just how bankrupt we have become in these technologically advanced times. But the author seemed more concerned about what the elder visionary meant to his own status--How typically American!

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Story Source: Amazon Books

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