Thursday, August 03, 2017
Anne Fields of the Writers Block reviewed my book. This is the kind of thing that keeps me writing.
The Roux in the Gumbo
it was amazing
5 stars[ 5 of 5 stars ]
“The Roux in the Gumbo” is author, Kim Robinson’s presentation of the maternal side of her family tree. The saga begins in slavery times and like most slave narratives, it showcases the hard life of the slaves - long hours of spirit-breaking work, rape by the master, abuse by the mistress, little freedom and even littler bouts of love. But always present in the background is the never-die courage of the slaves and their never-die quest to live free. Robinson’s ancestors achieve this, their freedom, by employing their smarts and activating courage. Through their long held use and knowledge of voodoo and natural healing, they gain their freedom and eventually rise to a level of success that puts them shoulder to shoulder with white men. In only a few generations, they acquire land, houses, businesses, money, and most importantly, respect and love.
Unfortunately, with success comes enemies in all colors. Enter the swindlers, the racists, the liars and cheats. And even within the family, there arises the weak-willed, the unfocused, and those who do not appreciate the barriers the early ancestors had to bust through. And yet, the family continues to grow in love and in numbers, and over time the very traits that helped them achieve foster a different type of success. That being, loyalty to family as seen during times of wrongdoing; economic downturn; and health decline, death.
As stated earlier, having an entrepreneurial bent clearly elevated the family, but other traits that passed through the family line also had a hand. Traits such as a hard work ethic, fairness and accountability, creative problem-solving, commitment, but most plainly, love; a very strong and deep love for one another.
I could not begin in this short review to detail all the colorful vignettes and stories in this tome. It is a long read, stocked full of strong, interesting characters; rich subtleties; and even original poems. Should you worry about keeping track of the major characters? Don’t. The author includes a family tree, family photos (which I enjoyed viewing), and chapter headings that match the name of the family member who is featured in that chapter.
Just a brief word of warning though, the last third of the book is narrative and reads more like a book report than active storytelling. When I arrived at this point, I encountered holes and questions, which led me to the realization that the contemporary generations were not as delineated as the ancient ones. But by this time, I was so invested in the family, this snafu did not deter me reading to the very end.
If you enjoyed “Roots” or “Cane River,” you will enjoy this multi-generational family saga. Read it and be awed.
Jul 15, 2017
Jul 25, 2017