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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
A Walk Back Home by Gilbert Garcia is a memoir relating the details of his boyhood, growing up in a Mexican family in the south side of Los Angeles. His story is composed of short vignettes, told from the young boy’s perspective, in the '40s and '50s. The specific, descriptive details are reminders of how family life was lived in that era. Each chapter begins with lists of movies and/or television shows, costs of items from houses to a gallon of milk, and events in the news. This trip down Memory Lane, enhanced with many funny stories, is a joy to read. Anyone who grew up in this era will appreciate references to hand-me-down’s, listening to favorite radio shows, day trips in the family car, baloney sandwiches, and Kool-aid.
Gilbert Garcia, author of A Walk Back Home, is an accomplished artist and has included many beautiful sketches throughout the book. One theme I especially enjoyed was the fact that his family did not have an abundance of material goods, but they were rich in family love and support, like so many other families after the Great Depression. While the parents provided strict discipline, there was a deep caring for each child. In Gilbert’s case, the mother, who also had artistic talents, encouraged him in his artwork. Gilbert Garcia utilizes many examples of how this loving guidance evolved into values he still holds dear. Readers who lived through this era will delight in recalling memories. Younger readers may develop a greater understanding of parents’ and grandparents’ experiences and values.