Sumi Loundon and company's BLUE JEAN BUDDHA is a rarity in several regards. For one thing, Loundon and her writers manage to lucidly articulate many ideas and feelings about culture, pop culture, age, and Buddhism that have previously proven to be precarious ground for authors to tread (this is particularly true of Loundon's first-class analyses throughout the book). For another, it switches gears gracefully--for any book, not just a dharma book--between being a sociological study (pieces like Kenneth Lee's "Drugs and the Dharma" and Thich Nu Pho-Chau's "Life as a Vietnamese Nun" exemplify this); a unique and very broad dialogue on philosophy, cultural ideologies, psychology, service, and peace (Claudia Heiman's "Winning over Depression," Noah Levine's "A Dharma Punx Path," and Adrienne Stauffer's "Freeing Tibet, Freeing Myself"); and very often literary nonfiction (Seth Castleman's "If a Nice Jewish Boy Sits in a Cave, Does He Make a Difference?" and Lillian Guild's "The Perfect Buddhist Boyfriend"). And lastly, its pieces burst with a very special kind of honesty about spiritual pursuits and the many facets of American life that only the spirit of youth could offer (Hanuman Goleman's "I'm a Mutt"). BLUE JEAN BUDDHA is fresh, insightful, and right-on. All of the bull's-eyes it manages to hit combined with its heart and humor make it an engaging read for anyone and an essential volume for any Buddhist's library.
I'm a young American (20-something) and I am so happy that someone is finally paying attention to my generation of practicing Buddhists! This book is interesting whether you're a young person just discovering Buddhism, or an older person interested in the new spirtiual motivations in youth culture today. The only weakness I can mention about this book is that it does not cover a wide range of Buddhist traditions. I wish, for example, it had included interviews with young Buddhists in the Soka Gakkai tradition which is one of the most youthful schools of Buddhism I know of in the United States these days. In any case, I am just glad someone finally published a book like this one. I also highly recommend a little gift book written by a 20-something American Buddhist named Taro Gold called "Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Little Book of Eastern Wisdom." I hope more and more young Buddhist voices will be found in print in the near future.