Lotus Girl: My Life at the Crossroads of Buddhism and America

St. Martin’s Essentials. Apr. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781250321558. $29. MEMOIR
It is hard to imagine a life more intertwined with the rise of mainstream awareness of Buddhism in the United States than Tworkov’s (Zen in America). Her social connections, personal religious explorations, and work as the founding editor of Tricycle magazine have kept her close to the practice of Buddhism in the U.S. since the Vietnam War era. As a piece of American history, her book dazzles, featuring encounters with New York artists, Zen senseis, Tibetan lamas, and literary celebrities. Tworkov is consistently serendipitously close to the action, whether hosting monks, flying to retreats, or meeting teachers from various Buddhist traditions. In one scene, she is in the White House, secretly spreading karmic blessings from a portable, purse-mounted shrine, aimed at the back of Lady Bird Johnson. Beyond its exploration of the history of Buddhism in the U.S., this book is a quintessential memoir, full of family struggles, honest self-criticism, beloved dogs, homes built and lost, and personal reflections on growing older and depression.
VERDICT An excellent memoir with a sense of humor. It’s full of insight and context regarding a distinctive slice of American Buddhist history.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing