A memoir recounting a 1960s fantasy—and nightmare—come to life.
Meston was born in Switzerland to “wanderlust hippies” who had changed their last name from Greenberg to the more poetic Greeneye. Though his mother had always claimed that she didn’t want children, Feather Greeneye took one look at her baby son and tearfully declared that she was thrilled to have “someone to love completely.” It didn’t turn out that way. Enamored of the teachings of Indian spiritual master Meher Baba, Meston’s parents moved their small family to Dharamsala. Meston was left in the care of a Tibetan family while his parents spent a month meditating under the tutelage of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. During that month, Meston’s father “snapped,” and his mother decided to become a Buddhist nun. On the advice of a Lama, Meston’s mother left him for good with a Tibetan family; she embraced her new monastic vocation, and promised she would visit when she could. At age six, Meston was sent to a monastery where he would begin training as a Buddhist monk. The author offers a generous reading of his mother’s strange—arguably negligent—choice: She didn’t want her son to have the same superficial childhood she’d had in the United States, and thought Buddhist monasticism would provide him with meaning. Eventually, as a teenager, Meston went to the U.S. to attend high school. The culture shock he experienced is both funny and pathetic. The concluding chapters’ chronicle of the author’s adult years is a tad less engrossing. Eventually, he went to college, reconciled with his mother and, with his wife, opened a boutique that specializes in Indian fabrics.
Quirky and intriguing, this story of bicultural life and familial ruptures transcends the particulars of Meston’s own autobiography.