RSS

Little Gale Gumbo

11 Jul

Little Gale GumboUnknown

by: Erika Marks

Penguin Group New York, NY  2011

ISBN: 978-0-451-23465-0

Little Gale is an island, not in the Gulf of Mexico, but in Maine.  The Bergeron sisters are brought there as pre-teens by their mother to escape their abusive father.  They are a long way, both by distance and by culture, from the New Orleans where they spent their childhood.   Sadly, it’s not far enough.

This is a tale of the ties that hold a small town together.  It is about what it means to be a family.  It is about choices and consequences.  It’s about keeping secrets and sharing traditions.

The racism that exists in the town is not overt, as is typical in the north.  The interesting thing is that an insular town like this might treat any newcomer in much the same way, regardless of racial heritage.  It is the cultural differences, the food, the easy New Orleans jazz, the Creole Voodoo that make the Bergeron’s stand out among the hard wintered lobstermen.

In the family itself it is the racism that sparks a goodly portion of the abuse.  Charles, the father, is a red-headed, freckle faced jazz trumpeter.  His oldest daughter is as black as her grandmother.  The younger one looks much like Charles.  The differences of temperament, acceptance, and expectation between the girls are underscored by color.

The gumbo is good, and it is the analogy at the center of the story.  What makes a good gumbo: the carefully crafted dark roux, the holy trinity of vegetables, and the shrimp.  The story shifts back and forth in time starting and ending with family secrets.  At its heart it is a tale about what makes a family.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Fiction

 

Tags: , , , ,

Have you read this book? Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: