Tuesday, May 8, 2007

a new glowing review from Idriss Uqdah

The Roux in the Gumbo
Click to order via Amazon (Neshee Publication (March 2006)

by Kim Robinson

Paperback: 357 pages
Publisher: J’Adore Publishing, 2007
ISBN-10: 0974701777

Reviewed by: Idrissa Uqdah

A Black Family’s Odyssey in America

Author Kim Robinson has written a remarkable account of her family’s history gathered from stories she was told as she was growing up. The life stories of her great grandmother, Annie Thomas and her grandmother, Helen Simpson are the roux in this gumbo; a very rich and entertaining read. The author acknowledges that a lot of people in her family helped her to write this book by giving her their memories. More African American families should share memories such as these. Rich in culture and historical events it’s a perfect course assignment for Black History classes.

The story opens in the early 1800s, near Lake Charles, Louisiana where a young slave girl has escaped from the Sunrise Plantation. She is laying under a magnolia tree in the driving rain; scared, tired, hungry and sick. Asking the Lord for mercy, she is determined not to return to the horrors of living on the plantation. As the story unfolds and the young girl remembers how life changed for her on that dark night, you are reminded of the many slave narratives written long ago. Ending in 1997; this book is a journey in Black history told in bits and pieces, sewn together like a patchwork quilt. I really enjoyed it.

Her visions of later day New Orleans are rich in the bayou land as Kim’s family lives as farmers, toiling the land and as entrepreneurs running every type of business from midwives and medicine women, root workers and hoo-doo men and livery services and prohibition time night spots complete with good food, gambling and home-made liquor. Kim’s ancestors were some very colorful personalities. But, they worked hard and were basically good people who stuck together and helped out a neighbor. Their dealings with the Klan and racist encounters in other parts of the South were also portrayed. They stood up for themselves and soon relocated to California for a better way of life.

I laughed and cried with this family as good money went bad and troubles touched the lives of the large and sometimes dysfunctional tribe. But; they always found a way to make ends meet and to support one another through their trials.

Great Grandmother Annie and Grandmother Helen were two very strong Black women who although did not have a formal education, used mother wit to overcome their lack of schooling.

Annie did not hesitate to pull out her trusty blade to defend herself or her family from violence and good deeds gone bad. Trouble did not last always for this family and on the whole, they lived and loved well. Always respected in the community of Compton, California; they carved a life out of their situations that left a legacy for the future generations.

The Roux in the Gumbo is a book that you will enjoy. It is both entertaining and interesting. It is also a saga of African American life told from the viewpoint of four generations in American. I found it good reading, and especially appreciated Kim’s grandmother’s recipe for Gumbo in the front of the book. The recipe makes a great pot of Gumbo. You can find it at her website: www.kim-robinson.com


Sylvia Hubbard said...

u know i'm so proud of you kim. welcome to the blogesphere! have fun! Relax and be a good girl if you can... not!

kisses from Detroit!

Angeline's Literary Dream Station said...

Hi Kim,

Congratulations on your new blog.

Angeline Bandon-Bibum.

Jackie Moore said...

Welcome to the world of Blogging Kim. Although I have to fess up and let you know that I have read your book, YET! Adding it to my list.

Be Blessed

Nine to Five Diva said...

Congrats Kim!

You're going to enjoy living the blog life (smile).

All the Best,


Gwynne said...

Greetings, Kim

What a wonderful review of your book. I'll read it as soon as I meet my deadlines.The story sounds as if it is a colorful as you are.I wish you much success with it.
My warmest regards and best wishes for a happy MOthers Day.

Jeni said...

I agree on the review - really a nice presentation as to what to expect in reading your book - so good in fact, that I will have to make sure to purchase a copy!

I like books/stories that come from true experiences, especially of how one's ancestors faced so many issues and managed to survive during some really difficult times. My ancestors were immigrants from Sweden and Scotland and a lot of what I write about in my blog may hark back to my family tree research, trying to dig up old memories too from my past or stories my grandfather told me as a small child.

A very good friend of mine wrote a book that started out as a record of her ancestors journey from Slovkia to this country and how they landed in the hills of central Pennsylvania. From there, she made it into a trip down memory lane of her memories of what it was like growing up here in the little village where I still live today. It's not that she has become a best-selling author but since it was first published back in I think 2000, she has had four reprints done of it and sells most of her books via e-mail and through word-of-mouth though.

Dorothy said...

Kim, I have started on your book. I haven't gotten very far, but I do have to say this. I was drawn in from the first page. I have been busy with these tours, and haven't had the time to read it yet, but I am so moved by it already. I am going to make it a point to find a little reading time today and sit back and get more into it. It's like a history lesson...you know? Just thought I'd let you know. This is excellent, girl, really excellent. I am so proud of you.

Elissa Gabrielle said...


Love the blog. I'll try my own one day. Just coming by to show you love and to support you on this new journey. I'm going to try the gumbo recipe too.

Have a blessed week, sistah.


Elissa Gabrielle