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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.