Read God and Mr. Gomez by Jack Clifford Smith Free Online
Book Title: God and Mr. Gomez|
The author of the book: Jack Clifford Smith
Edition: Los Angeles Times Books
Date of issue: January 1st 1974
Loaded: 1281 times
Reader ratings: 3.4
ISBN 13: 9781883792688
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 847 KB
City - Country: No data
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This story was selected by my book club, a story I normally wouldn't have read on my own. I didn't particularly enjoy it, nor did I particularly dislike it. My feelings toward it were mostly neutral. I don't think that I would have missed anything, never having read this book, but I can't say I wasted my time reading it, either. I mostly think that it had potential that it never realized, which always makes me sad in the case of such books.
It was the true story of how Los Angeles columnist Jack Smith and his wife, Denise, built a house just south of the Mexican Border, in the late 1960's, with more faith than money to spare. I don't know what the laws are presently, but back then, non citizens of Mexico were not allowed to own the land, only the houses built upon it, which might have proven too much of a risk for some people. But Smith and his wife had Mr. Gomez on their side. Mr. Gomez owned the land, and not only did he build their house upon it, but he designed it, though not necessarily to the Smiths' specifications. He was always improving upon their vision of things. But to compensate for any additional worry he caused them, he held their hands throughout their venture which became more like an adventure for them than anything. Gomez was a master at taking setbacks in stride, and by doing so, he helped them fulfill their dream of a nice getaway from their harried life in the States.
The less than wonderful things about this book were this: It was extremely dated with Mr. Smith showing distressing signs of male chauvinism toward, not only his wife, but every female he encountered in the story. It was more annoying than anything, as was his assumption that he was more knowledgable and advanced a person than the Hispanic people he was employing to help him, even though he was rather incompetent himself, half the time. His attitude made me wince on more than several occasions, his brand of humor not exactly softening his attitude to make it more palatable. I guess he was simply a product of the times, but he was a difficult guy for me to take, at times.
What I wish that Smith would have done with this story was focus less on the details of building and furnishing his dream house in favor of him focusing on the extraordinary, yet elusive, Mr. Gomez who seemed to have no limits to his knowledge, and who had a very interesting philosophy that he lived by. For example, if a road was in the middle of where he wanted to build a house, why move the site of the house? Just move the road. I wanted more of these little gems instead of Smith's shopping lists and mild epiphanies. But seeing as how this is such a short book, if you decide to read it, take what you can from it, especially the opportunity to know just the tip of the warmest iceberg, Mr. Gomez.
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Read information about the authorSmith was born in Long Beach on Aug. 27, 1916, grew up in Bakersfield and Los Angeles, and spent some time in the Civilian Conservation Corps before joining the merchant marines at age 21. He went into journalism, first for the Bakersfield Californian, then for the Honolulu Advertiser, United Press, the Sacramento Union, the San Diego Journal, the Daily News, Independent and Herald-Express, all in Los Angeles, before joining the Los Angeles Times in June 1953. He remained with the Times until his death.
He got to the Honolulu Advertiser by working his way there on a passenger ship. In World War II, he joined the Marine Corps and was a combat correspondent who took part in the assault on Iwo Jima, going ashore with his rifle but without his typewriter, which had been lost at sea.
At Belmont High School in Los Angeles, Smith served as editor of the student newspaper, the Belmont Sentinel. He said later that was the highest position he ever reached in his career.
Posthumously, some of his books are listed for sale using his middle name, Jack Clifford Smith.
For more details see:
Jack Smith's Obituaries
Jack Smith (columnist)
Reviews of the God and Mr. Gomez
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