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Bookspotlight: The Roux in the Gumbo

The Roux in the Gumbo
Electronic; ISBN 978-0-98206790-1

This is more than an ingredient in a recipe. Spanning 1865 to 1997, the book is my great-grandmother and grandmother’s life story, as told by her before she passed. It is accompanied by the memories of family members and friends. I have added just a dash of fiction to give it more flavor.

Based in Louisiana, with all its flair and Southern culture, it describes the experiences throughout history, contributing to the shaping of the generations. Purchase your copy today.

Kim Robinson is the owner of Kim’s Publishing. Married with three children, living in Texas, trying to make a difference.

Message from Kim

The Roux in the Gumbo is my great grandmother and grandmother’s life story. My grandmother would sit telling all them old stories of her life that always start with “I remember” or “let me tell you about the time,” and one day we decided to start writing them down. She died November 1997 of spinal cancer. I went to her home town in Louisiana and all the stories she told me from her childhood came to life. My great grandmother’s name still rings like a church house bell. My family migrated to Los Angeles in the 1940’s.

The Roux in the Gumbo is emotional and inspirational. As you read, you will actually feel what the characters felt during that time. In spite of the obstacles and struggles that life brought their way, these characters persevered. This was due to a strong family support even though they were not all blood relatives.

The story relates the lives of several women, intertwined by one common goal: basic survival during reconstruction era Louisiana. Elizabeth beseeches a Voodooiene to help her seek revenge on her husband Marcelle for the incestuous acts he has practiced on their daughter.

Jennifer is wed and killed by her husband Jacques when he discovers that the new born baby,Tallulah is not his child but that of Sachwaw, a Muskogean Indian. Jacques shoots Sachwaw leaving him and the infant for Alligator food. The cries of the olive skinned child with Jennifer’s eyes give Sachwaw the strength to make it back to his village where the medicine man heals him.. When he is able to walk he avenges Jennifer’s death.

Elizabeth under the impression that her daughter Jennifer was buried along with her grandchild, ventures into the Muskogean village to give Sachwaw a picture of Jennifer. He presents her with Tallulah. The green eyed child at his feet is God’s way of giving her back a connection with her daughter through her grandchild. Tallulah raised by Sachwaw and Elizabeth grows to become the town healer and midwife. She loses her husband and father in the same year and is left without family.

Tallulah finds a runaway slave named Gizelle who she mentors and takes her under her wing. They live as mother and daughter for twenty years before Tallulah passes. Gizelle falls in love as in married to a Grayman, the son of Rebi and is taken in by their family. She has two son’s who deal with tremendous adversity from the Ku Klux Klan.

Gizelle is searched out by Annie, a young girl dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. She gives the child the strength and realization that though the White father of the baby she carries will never rescue her, she has a treasure in the gift that god has bestowed on her in the form of Helen. Annie is adopted by Gizelle’s family and learns doctoring, Voodoo/Hoodoo. She ventures into the life of prohibition when she learns to gamble and make liquor and opens her own speakeasy where her long lost brother finds her one day.

Helen the mulatto daughter of Annie and Willie Simpson seeks to escape the life her mother has chosen and makes her own way in the world. She and the town playboy are wed at the end of Annie’s shotgun. She finds herself out of the frying pan and into the fire, raising seven children in ten years. They migrate from Louisiana to depression era Central Avenue in Los Angeles living in boarding houses. They move to the projects in Watts. By selling breast milk and cleaning homes for affluent families during the day and office buildings at night her cooking lands her a job where she is on call with the Hollywood studio’s where she cooked and cleaned for actors who lived in the leased homes while they were in town.

She saved the money to purchase her own home on Hillford Avenue in Compton. Heartbreak and pride lead her to independence. She began catering parties, her famous food bringing people from near and far to her restaurant in Southwest Los Angeles, Mom’s Soul Food, where she was the ‘The Roux in the Gumbo.’

Five Star Reviews

A Taste of Louisiana, January 31, 2007 By Karlyn Leblanc
This review is from: The Roux in the Gumbo (Paperback) How many of us really know where our roots evolved? Family history is very important in shaping our own being and the "The Roux in the Gumbo" shares its stories with us. Delve into generations of history from slavery to freedom. You'll cry and even laugh as this emotional book entertains you. Kim Robinson has written an exemplary documentary about her family. This extraordinary book highlights her talents and her ability to transform true narrative stories to non-fiction. After reading this amazing book you'll want to interview your grandmother and ask her if there is roux in your gumbo.-Journee, LLC

A Modern Griot, June 2, 2006 By Toni "TCalvin"
This review is from: The Roux in the Gumbo (Paperback) The Roux in the Gumbo is a classic memoir of a family's heritage dating from the early 19th century. It is the phenomenal literary work of a modern griot that brings to remembrance the mixed heritage that many African Americans share. Throughout the book, you are able to identify with characters that bear similarities of your own family members. It's all the details that you wanted to know from History class, but were never able to find. With each chapter, the history intensifies and the characters become even more real to the reader. The book includes many climaxes that provoke a variety of emotions, drawing you in even closer to the characters. Mrs. Robinson does an excellent job of preserving the lives of her ancestors and the rich legacy they've left behind. I'm anticipating her next book as well as trying the gumbo recipe detailed at the beginning of Roux in the Gumbo!

Fascinating Family Story, May 3, 2006 By Dindy Robinson
This review is from: The Roux in the Gumbo (Paperback) The Roux in the Gumbo by Kim Robinson is a family history based on stories told to Kim by her grandmother. It's about growing up in a black family in southern Louisiana. Kim's writing style pulls you in so you feel as though you are part of the family. It's a heartwarming book, at times funny, at times sad, but overall a very enthralling read. I highly recommend it.

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