An unremarkable book of uplifting quotes and tidbits.
Gesmundo’s slim nonfiction debut is a collection of inspirational mottoes the author has accumulated over time—sayings and jokes that have worked to help him through all kinds of difficulties, including the loss of loved ones, the challenges of running a business, and the major and minor obstacles he’s faced during 40-plus years in the hospitality industry. The book isn’t strictly an anthology; the quotes on every page are truisms that anyone in any culture in any time period could say as a matter of course. Gesmundo ends the collection with humorous observations (“Mothers’ menu consisted of two choices / Take it or leave it,” he writes, adding the kind of brief autobiographical note that happens throughout the book: “I can remember this during my early years during World War 2 when most times you did not even have two choices”), but the bulk of the work offers broad morale boosters. “Nothing changes / If nothing changes,” for instance, or “When you don’t know what you are talking about / You won’t know when to stop,” or “Angels exist but sometimes they don’t have wings and are called Friends.” There’s little complexity here; the reader is generally left alone with the author’s distilled, greeting-card-esque ideas: “Everyone smiles in the same language.” The author’s personal reminiscences interspersed throughout the book are straightforward and sometimes touching, like when he recalls his stern but fair father, and the advice he offers throughout often has a kindly, paternal tone to it: “Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s / Opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.” Readers looking for a bucking-up shot in the arm will find plenty here.
A short, pithy, sometimes-trite assemblage of optimistic and funny sayings.