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Knock and I Will Dine with You

Clarion Review (2 Stars)

Knock and I Will Dine with You is long on religious fervor and short on literary merit. No doubt Clara E. Garcia means well when she states that, “the words just come, as if it’s not even me saying it but that some force of good is telling me what to say.” Garcia repeatedly stresses that she is not a professional writer; she seeks to speak to readers as one neighbor to another. Her goal is to urge readers to follow the ways of Christ and to find peace in their lives. Surely, that’s a noble Christian sentiment, and one suspects that Garcia might prove an engaging companion with whom to spend an afternoon discussing the ways of God.

Unfortunately, Garcia’s work cannot be judged on imagined scenarios in which her conversations sparkle with religious wisdom and homely bits of friendly advice. Author of Peace of Mind and Peace of Mind II, Knock and I Will Dine with You must be assessed by the quality of the written English, which by any standard is extremely low. Garcia herself admits that a “so-called professional told me that my writings were simple” and that her “grammar and punctuation wasn’t the best.” All of which may be an understatement. For example, on the first page of the book, Garcia writes that, “I thought that writing my thoughts was suffice enough and all I needed to do.” From thereon in, that first impression is reaffirmed on every page. Garcia is an author who is “derived to continue writing.” She claims you can “tell a version by its fruits.” She sees gay people on talk shows “disgusting their lifestyles.”

And so it goes. In her error-prone writing, she sometimes ends up saying the exact opposite of what she most likely means, as when she asserts that “without God we cannot fail.”

Aside from basic grammar and syntax, Garcia does not seem able to compose her thoughts into a coherent narrative. In the space of one paragraph, she begins with a statement about Jesus advising us not to cast stones at sinners, progresses to the peculiar statement that “most people dress because they are angry,” and ends with the remark that “God had favorite colors and favorite jewels; read Genesis.” Garcia is not a writer whose weaknesses in one area are compensated by strengths in another.

Knock and I Will Dine with You is proof that religious conviction alone does not a writer make.

Diane Taylor