Syd Arthur

General Fiction, Humor

By Ellen Frankel

Publisher : Pearlsong Press

ABOUT Ellen Frankel

Ellen Frankel
Ellen Frankel is an author and licensed clinical social worker. Her memoir, Beyond Measure, was published by Pearlsong Press in September 2006.She is also the author (with her sister Judith Matz, LCSW) of Beyond A Shadow of a Diet& The Diet Survivor's Handbook.


Prince Siddhartha, raised behind palace walls and showered with every extravagance, abandoned his protected life to embark on a spiritual journey. He ultimately reached enlightenment and became known as the Buddha, which means "one who is awake." He then spent his life teaching that all have the potential to awaken...

Meet Syd Arthur! Living in the cloistered world of suburbia, Syd is a middle-aged Jewish woman who is potentially awake, but likes to start her day with a strong cup of coffee, just in case. Her daughter has just left for college and her diet is once again off track. While for most of her life she's been convinced that happiness can be attained by a magic number on the bathroom scale — or a really great shopping day at Bloomingdale's—she finds herself in the grocery store with an empty cart wondering if there just might be something more.

When East unexpectedly meets West, Syd embarks on a journey as a spiritual seeker. Soon she's in over her chakras as her search takes her from yoga studio to meditation hall to ashram gift store to the pages of Zensational catalogue. Her Mah Jongg group insists it's merely a midlife crisis. But nothing's going to stop Syd's journey toward Nirvana—not even the hottest sale at Nordstrom's. Follow Syd as she finds her bliss and discovers a richness that rivals a Godiva truffle, making for one delicious enlightenment.

I think I’ve always been searching. Granted, sometimes it was for my car keys, but the idea of finding my spiritual center has captivated me since I was a young child. Growing up though, I didn’t believe I could call myself a seeker, because I thought that description belonged to the great spiritual teachers of the past. I didn’t think that I, a Jewish girl growing up in the suburbs, was entitled to navigate a path toward revelation, salvation or enlightenment. Let’s face it, half of the time I was just praying for a good hair day. But that stirring, that spiritual hunger, continued to growl in my stomach and no amount of my mother’s tender brisket was going to quell it. It craved some brown rice and tofu too, a little East meets West. Long before the term Ju-Bu (Jewish-Buddhist) or Bu-Ju (Buddhist-Jew) was invented, my spiritual inclinations led me to seek balance with one foot in the synagogue and the other crossed over into a seated lotus position. Perhaps this is just my karma. Maybe in a past life I was a Buddhist nun, or maybe I was a butcher (hence my fondness for brisket) but my Jewish roots grounded me in the soil of my ancestors while my branches stretched to the mystical Shangri La where I longed to find my own Bodhi Tree and, like the Buddha, reach enlightenment. The Buddha taught that everyone has the potential to become spiritually awake. Syd Arthur is the upshot of my contemplative musings as to what the path of the historical Buddha, born Prince Siddhartha, might look like today through the eyes of Syd Arthur, a middle-aged Jewish suburban woman.

“Every once in a while you read a book that provides you with such a deep connection to the story’s heroine that you wish she would simply step out of the pages and become your best friend (think Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones, or Jennifer Weiner’s Cannie Shapiro). Ellen Frankel’s Syd Arthur joins their leagues with her warm sense of humor, acute eye for social nuance, and infinitely relatable search for meaning in her life. Buy a few copies—I guarantee you’ll want to share ‘Syd’ with the readers in your life!”

Wendy Shanker
author of
Are You My Guru? How Medicine, Meditation & Madonna Saved My Life

"A tour de force! This remarkable novel is full of humor, Buddhist wisdom, and Yiddishkeit. Art awakens us to new ways of seeing and being, and this novel is like an alarm clock."

Lama Surya Das
author of the New York Times bestseller
Awakening the Buddha Within