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The View from Casa Chepitos: A Journey Beyond the Border

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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  130 ratings  ·  34 reviews
On a ten-day a visit to San Miguel de Allende, Judith Gille falls in love...with a hot pink house on a rundown alleyway. Without consulting her husband or knowing how she's going to pay for it, she makes the owners a full price offer. Despite a rough start in the new culture, Gille and her family eventually befriend their neighbors on callejon de Chepito and form a close b ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published September 15th 2013 by Davis Bay Press (first published September 8th 2013)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  130 ratings  ·  34 reviews


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Jim
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, memoir
THE VIEW FROM CASA CHEPITOS is a memoir of how and why to become a part of a new place and society. With roots in Seattle, Judith Gille falls in love with the Mexican town of San Miguel Allende and buys a house there in a Mexican neighborhood where she and her family spend most of their free time. Though San Miguel has a lot of American ex-patriots, she purposely chooses to live among the natives. The house has a rooftop terrace with a view of the town and the nearby homes with courtyards full o ...more
Dona Morgan
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What an inspirational story! THANK YOU, Judith Gille!

Gracias sold me this book just the day before yesterday when I returned to her tienda after quite a hiatus. When I realized it was a story about Callejon de Chepito, I devoured it, and in doing so, caught up with the story of Gracias and Lupe and their family. I had rented a house on Callejon de Chepito 13 years ago. When we left the alley those many years ago, Lupe told my daughter (after searching in a notebook for quite a while) "I wan
...more
Amy
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Bought this book in San Miguel de Allende and enjoyed revisiting through its pages.
Kelsye Nelson
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There are so many things to love about this book. The first is the author, Judith. She begins the story with the brave, and open rendering of the massive fall-back her business faced, required her to down-size, lay off beloved workers and close stores. We feel her heart break as communities turn against her for shutting down some branches of her women owned hardware/mercantile stores in Seattle. We feel all the hard work and passion she put into building her business, and her disappointment as s ...more
D.
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a very interesting book. It is sort of a "coming of age" book, except the age starts in college and ends in retirement. This book is great for anyone born in the 50's or 60's because one will see oneself in some of the happenings in the story. I suppose all generations have starry-eyed dreams, but the world just seemed to have more promise to those who graduated high school in the mid 60's and 70's. However, readers from teenagers up will find this to be a very good account of ...more
Judy
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this memoir for several reasons. The author and I are much of an age, so I could relate to many of her life experiences. I am a fan of the area of Mexico she has adopted as her second home, although I prefer the capital city of Guanajuato to San Miguel de Allende where she bought her house, love at first sight. Mostly though, I appreciated her effort (and success) in integrating into the Mexican community, when it would have been so easy to live in the expat community in San Miguel. I ...more
Miina Saarna
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reading2019
Tedious read. Nothing interesting happened in this book (I don’t consider the author buying real estate in Mexico, rambling about her convenience stores in Seattle or finding Buddhism in her fifties interesting). More self-congratulatory rhetoric than I could handle.

I hoped this book would be more about Mexico and less about this random Judith Gille person, but of course it was mainly about missis Gille and very little about Mexico.
Pam Jesien Tobey
A great read- honest, down to earth, and authentic

Thoroughly enjoyed getting the perspective of a “gringa” in her journey to live, engage and fully participate in the fabric of San Miguel and Mexico. It takes openness, effort and persistence to truly understand another culture, and ultimately also rewarding.
Marcy Halsted
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book really helped me understand more about the Mexican people in San Miguel. It is a very easy and enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone traveling to San Miguel de Allende.
Adriana
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Got my copy thru First Reads.
The summary for this book is a little misleading. While it does deal a bit with illegal immigration, this is much more about a woman’s experiences after she buys a house in a beautiful Mexican city and spends time with the locals.
Judith Gille was a point in her life when what she needed was a change and a family trip to San Miguel de Allende gave her an opportunity to go for it. She buys a house and then proceeds to travel back and forth with her family between Seat
...more
Karen M
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Come take a trip not just to Mexico but into my life in Mexico. No, the author didn't say that but she could have because she does take us South of the border and into her neighborhood in San Miguel de Allende.

Judith Gille fell in love with a casa (house) in a town in Mexico where she had spent a year when she was a student. Now she was a married businesswoman with two children but still very drawn to life in Mexico. Without hesitation and without speaking with her husband she bought a pink hous
...more
Alison
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Judith Gilles had visited San Miguel de Allende in 1974 when she was in her 20's to study art and Spanish, at the Instituto Allende and had loved the feeling of the place then. Returning 28 years later with her mother and sisters she fell instantly in love with a property on a run down alleyway. The author starts her first chapter with a quote (__Any given moment can change your life....you just have to BE there.__) -Leigh Standley- and this moment had just happened to her.
She writes beautifully
...more
Sarah Morison
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book about San Miguel!

In preparation for spending this coming winter in San Miguel, I have been reading books written by American and Canadian expatriates about SMA. Having visited SMA several times for shorter periods of time in the past, I wanted to be a little less ignorant this time around. For the most part, I have been fairly disappointed by the quality of what's available to read -- and often put off by the entitled viewpoints of the authors. Ms. Gille's book is an exception. She
...more
Denise
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through the First Reads program in exchange for a review.

The View from Casa Chepitos by Judith Gille is a memoir of Judith's life after closing her store City People's and falling in love with a house in San Miguel de Allende. It tells of her struggles to fit into the neighborhood and her adventures in Mexico. Ultimately, she learns a lot about herself and the lives and issues facing her Mexican neighbors.

This book was a delightful read. I find most expat books of living ab
...more
Claire
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received The View from Casa Chepitos as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

After her Seattle store goes out of business mere months after 9/11, a depressed Judith Gille visits Mexico and buys a home on a whim. Over the next several years, the family--Gille, her husband and two teenage/young adult children--settles into life in a small Mexican town, forging relationships with both expat and Mexican residents.

The book is about the relationships between Gille, her family, and the callejon de Chepito co
...more
Kathleen Kelley
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having a trip planned to San Miguel in December, and having read On Mexican Time, I was looking forward to this account. It didn't disappoint. Not only did Judith incorporate so much information about San Miguel and the surrounding cities, which I was hoping to learn about, but she told so many stories of her developing relationships over many years with her neighbors around Casa Chepitos and how their lives become entwined, despite such cultural differences. The message? In the end, we're all b ...more
Kenneth Iltz
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-books
The View from Casa Chepitos by Judith Gille. Judith Gille buys a home on a rundown alleyway in San Miguel de Allende without consulting her husband or knowing how she’s going to pay for it. She makes the owners a full price offer after seeing it once. Her family splits its time between a home in Seattle and their new home in Mexico.

I expected a book like Tony Cohan’s On Mexican Time about the problems of rebuilding an old hacienda in in San Miguel de Allende. Casa Chepitos plays a minor role in
...more
Nancy
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, mexico
Gille’s book has been compared to Frances Mayes’ “Under The Tuscan Sun,” which I’ve also read and enjoyed. What sets Gille’s book apart though is her total involvement in the Mexican community where she’s made her second home. She writes with respect and love for the Mexican people and with honesty and compassion for their often difficult lives. While I personally love the overcast days and mostly temperate climate of the northwest, where Gilles makes her permanent home, I can appreciate her att ...more
Patricia Ibarra
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
am a Mexican and know the place where the novel takes place, San Miguel de Allende, very well. I enjoyed the book because it took me to known places, but mainly because I was able to learn the perception that Americans have of Mexicans, and realized that even if we are neighbors how different our cultures are, for instance, how keen they are on defending what is politically correct. I am certain that if you ask Mexicans what politically correct is, they would have no clue what you are referring ...more
SouthernGirl
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having never been to Mexico, I was excited to read about Judith Gille's experiences in San Miguel de Allende. From her first vivid descriptions of the beautiful town to her complex friendships with the locals, I felt I was right there living it with her. Part travel book, part memoir, I could not put the book down until I had finished it! I would definitely recommend it to all my friends and family and I look forward to more books from this author!

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
Rhonda
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Super fun read. I mean the way Judith wrote really pulled me into the immigration fight. At the end of the day we are all human and just live a good life. Shwe wrote with alot of compassion. It's good to look at a different point of view. It was adventerous and I liked it alot. She found her spot in the world. I was so glad I won this book , I really wanted to read it. Will pass around to my co-workers and family !
Jill
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
The personal story of a woman from Seattle who falls in love with a house in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She and her husband buy the house and spend part of many years there. It is her narrative of the families in the barrio that she becomes friends with and how their lives intertwine. The author's love for the wonderful parts of Mexico (the closeness of families, the food, the women) echo my own love of Mexico.
Trish
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book about San Miguel de Allende and a memoir about how the author, Judith Gille, falls in love with Mexico, its people and San Miguel.
It humanizes the never-ending immigration controversy. sigh...

On a personal level--I met Judith Gille in a writing class when she was working on this book or an essay about San Miguel. We rented a place in San Miguel from one of her friends. I remember seeing the places Judith was describing in the book. It made reading the book even more fun.
Karolina
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great read--Judith Gille shares her experiences living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with humor and reverence. Her Mexican neighbors become her family throughout the years. Unlike other travel memoirs, Judith is not quick to judge her surroundings.
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and couldn’t be more pleased with a well-written and astute account of an American living in Mexico.
Estella
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Judith Gille's experiences as she and her family make their transition as "expats" in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I was able to relate to this transition with understanding and compassion as I also have experienced my own "journey beyond the border" but in a different town. A definite "must read" for anyone contemplating a move to Mexico.
Heather
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This memoir is fun, well-written and amidst,y just a great portrait of the author and the Mexican family she befriends. The story line is relatively light, which made it a great vacation read, but the author also discusses immigration, poverty and other relevant topics in a compassionate and reasoned way.
T
Nov 27, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: gratis, dnf, giveaways
Received a free copy of this via the Goodreads First Reads program.

Unfortunately, I was unable to fully get 'into' this book and stopped after a few chapters. Might attempt to pick this one back up at a later date. We shall see.
Kristine Berg
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book, not only because I have a shared history with the author, but because I admire her honesty and courage. It is a great deal like my own story which I will one day finish writing...........I am so proud of Judith for writing such a wonderful book.
Emily Erickson
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book about one woman's adventures in Mexico, including her impulsive decision to buy a house in San Miguel de Allende, the neighbors she befriends, and her close ties to important cultural issues, such as Mexicans immigrating to America.
Mike
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
A woman's story of coming of age - at mid life - in a split residency of Seattle and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Topics include bonding, raising a family, negotiating with a mate, and most importantly discovering a new life in a foreign land.
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Judith is the founder and owner of City People's stores in Seattle, but her passion is writing about Mexican art and culture, and immigration issues. Her articles and essays have been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, the Florida Sun-Sentinel, in magazines, online literary journals and anthologies.
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