‘Gringos in Paradise’ Book Review

Gringosinparadise_2 by Barry Golson
List Price: $26.00 (Hardcover) – Amazon $17.16

I was recommended this book by Marsha, a fellow Loreto Bay Homeowner and friend who had read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. For those of you considering or are in the process of building a place in Mexico, this book is a must read, both for the great content and the hilarious anecdotes.

The entire odyssey of an American couple that ends up building a retirement dream home in a little fishing village of Sayulita is narrated from the perspective of Barry Golson, an editor who thought his opportunities in New York had dried up after his last magazine fell victim to the publishing recession.

The book is sprinkled with practical advice on selecting architects, hunting down furniture and working with Mexicans. This is balanced with interesting perspectives on retirement, connections with family and friends and colorful vignettes. One such anecdote that I found especially amusing was on page 271 which describes Thia’s (Barry’s wife) adventure of finding elongated toilets in Mexico. As Barry narrates:

“She (Thia) explained in her Rome-inflected Spanish that such bowls were more sanitary, as they improved men’s aim. The factory clerk, a helpful woman, inquired sweetly whether her husband had a problem.” (page 271)

I had no idea that this was the driver for the invention of elongated toilets…nor am I completely convinced after reading this. Regardless, this passage had me in fits of laughter.

The writing style is more magazine-like, would not consider this a great literary piece. However, as Clint and I go through the process of building a place in Loreto Bay, this book is like a good friend who has done it before, providing wonderful advice and color to the whole experience.

P.S. Because of the long flights out and back from Lisbon, Portugal on business last week, I have cleared my queue of books to read (review of “A Thousand Splendid Suns” to come shortly). Would love any suggestions you have on great books I should read. As you can tell from my past reading history, my taste is pretty broad and eclectic. Only author I can say I don’t like is Dickens. Sorry to all the Dickens fans out there.

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  • Loni Kao Stark

    <p>Hi Leslie – Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll add it to my book queue. Clint and I will be down at the next homeowner's weekend Nov 29 – say hi if you will be around then. Congratulations on your purchase! </p> <p>BTW: Somehow your post appeared under another blog entry so I copied and pasted it under my comment and &quot;moved&quot; it to the relevant entry.</p> <p>Loni</p> <p>==================</p> <p>Hi Loni — I found your blog after returning from Loreto Bay and signing a construction contract there. We are just about ready to close on our lot. I will check out &quot;Gringos in Paradise&quot;. If you are up for another similar book you might look for &quot;On Mexican Time&quot;. It was a very enjoyable account of a couple's experience buying and remodeling in Mexico. </p> <p>Posted by: Leslie Green | November 19, 2007 at 04:20 PM <br /> </p>

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Leslie – Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll add it to my book queue. Clint and I will be down at the next homeowner’s weekend Nov 29 – say hi if you will be around then. Congratulations on your purchase!

    BTW: Somehow your post appeared under another blog entry so I copied and pasted it under my comment and “moved” it to the relevant entry.

    Loni

    ==================

    Hi Loni — I found your blog after returning from Loreto Bay and signing a construction contract there. We are just about ready to close on our lot. I will check out “Gringos in Paradise”. If you are up for another similar book you might look for “On Mexican Time”. It was a very enjoyable account of a couple’s experience buying and remodeling in Mexico.

    Posted by: Leslie Green | November 19, 2007 at 04:20 PM

  • Loni Kao Stark

    Hi Leslie – Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll add it to my book queue. Clint and I will be down at the next homeowner’s weekend Nov 29 – say hi if you will be around then. Congratulations on your purchase!

    BTW: Somehow your post appeared under another blog entry so I copied and pasted it under my comment and “moved” it to the relevant entry.

    Loni

    ==================

    Hi Loni — I found your blog after returning from Loreto Bay and signing a construction contract there. We are just about ready to close on our lot. I will check out “Gringos in Paradise”. If you are up for another similar book you might look for “On Mexican Time”. It was a very enjoyable account of a couple’s experience buying and remodeling in Mexico.

    Posted by: Leslie Green | November 19, 2007 at 04:20 PM