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God and Mr. Gomez

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  37 reviews
When Jack and Denny Smith decided to build a vacation dream house in Baja, California, they had no idea they were entering a phase of their lives "that would capture the fancy of readers throughout the United States." Through a series of strange and whimsical adventures, they would find that building a house takes God and Mr. Gomez.

As their house took form first in their i
Audio CD
Published December 1st 2005 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1974)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  154 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Mar 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was not only interesting but very funny. Mr. Gomez is building a house for an American in Baja, and every time the American comes to check on the progress, the house is moved or something else has gone wrong.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book!
I loved this story of Los Angeles journalist, Jack Smith, and his wife, Denny, having a vacation home built in the late 1960's in Baja California by Mr. Gomez. It was adventurous (the Mexican roads were terrible!), mysterious (was the house really theirs, should they trust Mr. Gomez with the deeds?), with a little danger (rattlesnake alert!), and a lot of Jack's dry humor thrown in (will they have water? will the refrigerator work? why does the fireplace smoke up the whole house?
I enjoyed this book for it's depiction of the Hispanic culture and the gentle telling of building one's dream home. I didn't find it "hilarious" or a "must read" as many readers did. I found it to be a calming, at times funny and sometimes a philosophical memoir that probably finds more favor with readers who already love Jack Smith from his LA column days. But, Mr. Gomez is a classic character. I would want to meet him.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
God and Mr. Gomez was a rather romantic read for me as it called up the good times I had when young and crossing the border back and forth from Southern California into that barren coastal plain known as Baja California during the same decade that Jack Smith encountered Mr. Gomez who built his Baja home for him and his wife. Smith, one of the most well-known newspaper columnists of the last century, was the first journalist (whom I know of) who had his personal opinion column on the front page o ...more
Mary  Mendoza
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, humor
Re-read this wonderful book about a couple from L.A. who decide to build a house in Baja and found it even more delightful the second time around because I've visited Mexico and have a better understanding of the culture and the people, plus my husband and I have lived through numerous home improvement projects gone hilariously awry.

If the house the Smiths and Senor Gomez built still exists I'd love to know its value.

Wendy Bonnen
Not a masterwork by any means but a peaceful, easy read about adventurous empty-nesters and an interesting look back at travel prior to the digital age.
Charming memoir about building a home on the Baja Peninsula decades ago when prices were a lot lower! It's an amusing story that reveals how very differently things are done in this culture.
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decades old, but still a fun and valid read if you've built (or are building) a house in Baja. A light, quick read.
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, book-club
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
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, travel
When I travel, I like to read a book that is about the area or by someone who lives there or somehow connected to the history of the place. To be in Baja and listening to the audiobook "God and Mr. Gomez" has fit that intention perfectly. Glad I chose to listen to the book because it attuned my ear to the music of the Spanish that is all around. Terrific to listen to the story of Smith building a house south of Ensenada in the late 50s while I walked through Las Brisas in Todos Santos to the bea ...more
Frances Sawaya
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reread while on vacation. Enjoyed this book as much the second time around. Smith was a columnist for the LA Times and his humour infused most articles he wrote as well as this account of his adventures while building a holiday home in Baja California. Quite an enduring/endearing friendship developed between the two families as work progressed on the house. I especially enjoyed the Gomez rationale as the building site changed from month to month.
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For someone living in Baja this is an intriguing look at the northern Baja of nearly 50 years ago - through the eyes and culture of a Southern Californian yearning for untrammeled spaces. The culture of middle aged adults in 1960s California itself is interesting enough, but the gentle comparison with the Baja culture of that time is intriguing. Smith treats his Mexican neighbors with great respect.
Well written and funny, too.
May 11, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a quick, fun read. It is about a man and his experience building a vacation home in Mexico. He develops a relationship with the man "Gomez," who builds his home for him. It reminded me so much of the time I lived in Mexico. The people there are so sweet. But, they truly have a different timetable and attitude on life. . . sometimes for the better. Definitely worth the read.
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very funny account of the author's adventures (and misadventures) building a vacation home in Mexico. It was first published in 1974, so some of the references are a bit dated. But the story is surprisingly compelling, and it leaves you dreaming of building your own Mexican hideaway.
David Allen
Smith's third book and most popular, probably because it hangs together as one story rather than as a collection of newspaper columns, and also because the idea of building a getaway home, and entrusting your money to a lovable but elusive character to do so, appeals to the dreamer. I liked it, but no more than his previous two books.
Aug 03, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic case of a book read as relevant background. My husband and I are thinking of buying property in Baja California Mexico, so I read a book about building a house in Baja California Mexico. Mildly amusing but dated, so read only if it is relevant to your own life.
Carrie Ridgeway
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Library2Go Audiobook. I enjoyed this true story, even though it was somewhat dated by today's standards. It made me smile and laugh at times. Written by an LA Times column writer about he and his wifes'experiences building a house on the Baja peninsula.
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I utterly enjoyed this charming book. Of course the fact that we, too, had a house built in Baja made it extra special for me to read.

It was a wonderful glimpse into Baja from about 40 years ago...and some things are different, while many seem the same.
Diane Wachter
RDC-M V 2 1975, 9/75. Nonfiction memoirs about a family dreaming about, then building their dream house with the help of Mr. Gomez, a Mexican builder who always has the solutions to the problems that arise. Good.
May 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adults
Very cute. Makes me want to move to Mexico.
Funny account of dealing with Mexicans and building a house in Baja. Many things to think about for anyone planning to build on leased land in Baja.
Sep 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm helping my boss (accounting and translating) to build a home in Cabo. I found this book entertaining. It made me want to retire to bad I have about 25 years of working to go.
Mar 19, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I read this years and years ago. I just remember what a good book it was. I added it to my list so I don't forget I want to read it again.
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Gomez is not to be trusted..jk read the book. It's witty.
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this very funny book.
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book, all the more so because I used to vacation in the house next door to Jack's.
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Senor Gomez has a better idea of how to live and the proper pacing of life.
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast read which really gives the flavor of living "S. of the border"! I loved it. Keep in mind this was many years ago but I'm still amazed by both how little AND how much has changed.
Jun 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read and true story about Jack Smith's experience of building a vacation home in Baja CA. Would I have done it? Hardly. I have to see the official papers of ownership.
Feb 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute mind candy - a sweet read prior to traveling there myself.
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Smith 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 ...more

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