Peter's Reviews > Nothing Missed, Everything Gained

Nothing Missed, Everything Gained by William G. Guzman
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's review
Jan 22, 12

Read in December, 2011

Just finished reading the Spanish edition and felt compelled to raise my rating from 4 to 5 stars. Love the Spanish version even better. On "Preface", the author himself says that his Spanish might be better. He is right!

An amazing effort by a first-time author. As a kid he was wiser beyond his years, a fact that may have saved him from becoming a corrupted individual. If he did not have it “that bad”, it was because of his keen awareness of his surrounding which developed over time.

As a kid, he had to endure a lot of crap, even from those closest to him: by cousins which had nothing better to do, his mother's rather strange behavior, his father absenteeism, etc. Even so, he later realized, in spite of her problems, how important his mother became not only to him but to his siblings. Overall, he had no real guide, surrounded by shallow,empty and rather uneducated people. Throughout his journey he had to learn basically on his own, guided by his very own independent conscience and spirit. Had he chosen the wrong ways, he would have probably been divorced several times, and being involved in who knows what. If a reader finds him/herself identifying with some of the characters in this book, then he/she would obvioulsy be blinded and dismiss it as "rublish". Anticipating this the author, to his credit, has an answer for them as well which may sound arrogant but to the point: who cares.

His father, even though he was forced to leave and who seemed to have experienced a rough life himself, perhaps worse than his son, did not even bother to stay in touch with any of his kids, choosing instead to abandon them (by his very own admission) as his easy way out. Even later in life when he could clearly help them, he chose the selfish way by continuing his abandonment.... Although not as nearly as "tragic" as "Angela’s Ashes" (which, by the way, I couldn't finish reading), with Nothing Missed Everything Gained the author points to things which could easily derail a child's progress into adulthood.... It must have been hard for the author to overcome the many temptations. I am very glad that he chose to study instead.

The author, although rather briefly, touches upon 3 generations: the landowner (great-grandfather) who allegedly conceived about 200 kids and killed, his grandfather who drank his wages while also enjoying the comforts of another woman, many of his uncles who, to a lesser degree than their father, also inherited their taste for women, his paternal grandfather who fought evil spirits with a machete, etc. He touches upon two of his failed relationships, talks about the ugly politics in the corporate world, his own development, etc. There is enough material here to develop several books in my opinion. It is also amazing that he was able to write about so much in just 144 pages.

Lastly but not least, he included four of his own poems, beautiful in their simplicity and meaning.

This is a simple but entertaining book with a comic undertone (in some areas I was laughing my head off); some of the areas seem incomplete but this is also understantable as this is a memoir as the author himself emphasizes. In addition, in some areas the time-line seemed a bit hard to follow, but this should not bother a good reader. At the same time however, many of the "short stories" (as the author himself describes each of the "chapters") could be declared to be masterpieces. Glad he took the time to do it. Hope that he can continue to write.

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