Phat('s) Chance for Buddha in Houston

Or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Fiction - General
86 Pages
Reviewed on 11/18/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

One lovely spring day when Virginia left for elementary school, the overgrown farm with the big white farmhouse (with pillars!) and the old white oak trees (maybe 300 years old or more) lining the dirt road by their new house was there. By the time she got home from school, it wasn’t. She was eight years old. Popping off the bus at the end of the school day, the little pod of kids she was part of stood on the new sidewalk in stunned silence as yellow monsters moved back and forth across the horizon, the once fertile soil blowing up into the sky like a nuclear bomb; the grand old oak trees piled up like garbage. Later that winter, hiking through the apple orchard, ice skates dangling over her shoulders, she would reach her beloved pond only to find it bulldozed out of existence–a sign for a new hotel on top of it (the frogs she’d try to catch each summer–flattened).

It was at age eight she became an “environmentalist”, before the word even existed. This was before there were “environmental laws” and “Environmental Impact Statements”. Virginia saw this world before America developed some understanding of what it was doing to itself, and has spent her career implementing many of these regulations–regulations that were the result of exactly the scene she observed when she was eight years old.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jessyca Garcia for Readers' Favorite

I thought Virginia Arthur’s Phat('s) Chance for Buddha in Houston was an interesting story. Fifteen-year-old Galen Calcou takes a spur of the moment road trip with his Uncle Mike (Phat). They are driving from Indiana to Texas in Uncle Mike’s 1970 red convertible named Ruby to buy an engine. Along the way they rely on the kindness of strangers and learn about themselves and each other.

I thought Phat('s) Chance for Buddha in Houston was going to end and leave me with a bunch of question. In the end, Arthur only left me with one question. That question is what happened between Uncle Mike and Galen’s father? This story takes place in 1990 but everything that happens in it makes me think it is more in the '50s. The kindness of strangers was really amazing in this book. If it were not for these strangers then I cannot see Galen and Uncle Mike staying on the road trip for as long as they did. I do not think that people would be so quick to help a stranger nowadays.

The character of Uncle Phat was weird but in a good way. He actually reminded me of a close family friend, since they have some similar characteristics. Galen is a confused teenager. He knows he does not fit in with his family but he is bound to them by blood. I think a lot of people can relate to Galen because of this. I thought it was hilarious when Uncle Mike embarrassed Galen in the bar. Only family can embarrass you like that.