From the start I would like to point out that Acorns Among the Grass is a book about Buddhism. This may seem like an odd statement but when reading the blurb on the back, I did not realise this at all.
Its selling point to me was its promise to reconnect me with the natural world and allow environmental work to nourish me psychologically and spiritually. Therefore, I was quite surprised to find Caroline Brazier, the author, talking in-depth about Buddhist practices.
Even though it wasn’t what I expected, I continued to read as I liked the author’s writing style – it was very conversational and personal. She explained about Buddhism and gave a brief grounding of information for those who know nothing about it (i.e. me).
Throughout the 18 chapters were lovely snippets of inspiration and thoughts from her friends, and some insightful pieces that really hit home and made you think – which is the whole reason for the book in the first place. It’s showing society how materialistic we are and how we need to get back outdoors to enjoy nature.
Unfortunately, there is a ‘however’.
However, though there are quite a few perceptive paragraphs dotted through Acorns Among the Grass, there is a lot of waffle in between. I began to skim read after the third page of description about feeling the earth through your feet and again after the forth page on the life of an ant.
I got the points she was trying to make but she could have made them in half the words, probably with a bigger impact.
Also, after not expecting the book to be about Buddhism, I began to find the later chapters harder to understand as it spoke more of their practices and used terminology I was unfamiliar with.
It claims to appeal to “both professional and general readers” but I believe that it would most likely be more useful to those who already have knowledge or an interest in Buddhism.
One quote was: “We end up watching the natural world on the TV from our armchairs instead of actually experiencing it directly.” I felt I was missing out on the natural world as I was wading my way through this book.
Did it deliver on its promise? Not to the extent I would have hoped but it did leave a couple of lasting sentiments.