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3.44  ·  Rating details ·  980 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Where do you go when you disappear? For young heiress Mary Fait, the answer is New Orleans. After the death of her parents, she is placed in the care of her alcoholic uncle. For years, she assists her uncle in growing the family empire, all the while plotting his demise and / or her escape. A college scholarship gives her the opportunity to break free of her life to start ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 18th 2011
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3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  980 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Beverly Lucas
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
An ode to Louisiana and a nice coming-of-age tale, "Gumbeaux" is a great story. Mary/Veronica, the main character of the tale, escapes her uncle Claude and high-pressure, privileged life in D.C. by attending college in Louisiana. She's quickly confronted with how privileged her life has been and is found the worse for wear several times due to her inexperience or ignorance. What is most compelling about her story is the total sensory and sensuality of the novel: colors, textures, tastes, and sou ...more
Victoria Scott
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Three Reasons You Should Stay Far, Far Away From Gumbeaux
1. The Romance
First, there's Braden. Braden brings "adventure" to Veronica's oh so bland life, including being way too obsessed with sex. He brings out the worst in Veronica, making her even more snobby towards all her friends. But alas, the relationship continues. Then there's Dr Landry, her art professor at the college she goes to. They don't date while he's her teacher, but he does promise he'll wait for her. And he does, even though
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Let's see, a very respectable 4 stars. This was not the light book I was hoping to read but it was very enjoyable. It had me laughing, made me mad, and made me sad during different parts of the book.

I wasn't thrilled with the diary entry format the book was written in but after the first few entries, I didn't even notice it anymore and actually started to appreciate it towards the end. The main character in the book, Mary Veronica, was very likable and this book shows her growing up (mostly men
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
<3 I loved this story! <3

I was a Goodreads first reads winner. "Gumbeaux" has a little of everything and is just a really great story with characters you connect with and don't want the story to ever end. It wasn't predictable and I just had to keep reading to see what would happen to Mary, her uncle, Dr landry, and especially Braden. I also had to see what his next t-shirt would say. There are many other characters in this story that give so much extra to the story too.
The ending wasn'
Onaiza Khan
Gumbeaux is a piece of art. It has emotions for colors like fear, anger, love, belongingness, responsibility and any other emotion that exists. Every emotion is expressed in the most exciting yet soothing hues and shades.
All I can say is that it's a journey worth following.
Jun 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Really enjoyed the Louisiana theme and descriptions. Worth reading for that alone. Easy read.
I won this book on Goodreads First reads giveaways.

A fairly simple novel about a girl needing to find herself. The setting is New Orleans, where all things magical and mysterious converge.

I have never been to New Orleans but what I like about the book is the author was able to convey southern living through her words. I was easily able to visualize Veronica's "second home".

As for the protagonist Veronica, I tried to empathize with her because of her cruel uncle but I just couldn't quite get that
Christine Cunningham
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a coming of age story for heiress Mary Veronica Fait. The dazzle that drew me in was the diary format and time period beginning in the 1980's. Mary plays the submissive role of hostess and quiet partner in her family’s business. She’s hardly content and longs to be free from her oppressive and abusive surroundings. She hopes she will be allowed to go away to college, but her uncle squashes that idea. Cunningly Mary sends a letter to an art college located in Louisiana under a fictitious ...more
Kailey Sitzman
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The epistolary novel is one of my favorite forms a book may be written in. Gumbeaux did not disappoint this format by any means and the plot benefited from the one sided POV this diary format offers. Another rarity for a novel, is the main character in this bildungsroman is female. Traditionally male characters play the protagonist in this genre. It was a refreshing change. If you are a fan of art, there at many great references you will understand and enjoy. I would definitely recommend this no ...more
Audrey Lambert
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic!!! I received this book as a giveaway from the author Kimberly Vargas and I was completely immersed in the story from the first few pages. I found myself wondering what the characters were going to do next...even when I wasn't reading the book. Very quick read because it was so good. It was an uplifting story of how love prevails, growth is a necessity and we all have a path to follow. Makes me want to visit New Orleans again.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
The beginning of this book was as bright and beautiful as New Orleans itself, then it sort of fell apart, like the end of a night on Bourbon Street. Some of the latter journal entries were not very well thought out and could have been more meaningful. For example, some had way too much detail for a journal entry and could have been cleaner. Overall, very good book and I'm glad I read it.
Pamela Sloss
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I absolutely loved this book. In her debut novel, Vargas makes me feel like I'm sitting in a diner in the bayou. The characters are very real and exude N'awlins life. Written in diary form, this book is a quick read and very entertaining. I can't wait for the author's next book.
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written almost as diary entry. Different, engaging. Will read more by this author.
Mike Owens
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
An intriguing debut novel written in epistolary form (dairy entries) by the first person protagonist, Mary Fait. Mary, having lost her parents some years before, is next in the inheritance queue, after her Uncle Claude, for the prestigious Fait Gallery in D.C. In spite of her financial resources, she is desperately unhappy, mostly because of her boorish uncle who is both a drunkard and a lecher. She fantasizes killing him, but lacks the fortitude to carry out the act. So, she runs away to Bayou ...more
Jeffrey Taylor
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's first deal with the chick lit label. I only saw one male reader in the review list although there were a few TBR's with male names. The novel seems to bridge the divide between chick and general lit, there's more here than the loves and lusts of Mary Fait. For one thing there is a very sensitive presentation of local color in suburban New Orleans. For another the main character has the determination to leave her existing life to run to a remote place in which she can craft her own version ...more
Sheila Vandal
Jul 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a quick read with a little bit of everything: adventure, romance, dysfunction, travel and, of course, a happy ending. I like the format of diary entries as they make the narrative seem very personal and also make it easy to pick the story up in quick intervals. However, nothing is very deep. The snippets of life are only as intense as the character writing them and this particular character is not very engaged or in touch with her own psyche, motivations, goals etc... Likewise, the diar ...more
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm torn between a 3 and a 4 on this one.

"Gumbeaux" is a novel that mixes together elements of a travel narrative, a rom-com, and a coming of age story. Our heroine, Mary, is the heiress to her family's art fortune. Her drunken and abusive uncle attempts to raise Mary (and constrict her life) until she manages to get herself accepted at a college in Louisiana, far from her DC home. In Louisiana, Mary thrives, and has to deal with her career, her relationships, and ultimately, herself.

The book wa
Oct 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-stuff
I'm not sure how to rate this book. It reads as a diary of a college age student, with short choppy sentences, slang, and grammatical errors to boot. Normally, I would hate something like this and would never have gotten past the first few pages. I sorely disliked the main character, I didn't like the things she did.... I found it absolutely unrealistic, especially since I was a sheltered, worldly-wisdom-lacking girl myself. But... but.... maybe it was my awful backache and headache that I've ha ...more
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
The story of Mary Fait/ Veronica Fey was enjoyable but the historic and factual misinformation grated on my nerves. Two in particular. Mixing sasafrass(also commonly known as file) and okra in gumbo gives you stringy gumbo, one or the is used. Also the fact of inner courts being built in New Orleans homes during the Civil War by men so their women wouldn't be exposed to the street riff raff. Most people forget or don't even know that the Spanish held New Orleans at one time and inner coutyards a ...more
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Paige by: First Reads
The book was an outstanding book that captures my attention on the very first page. It is hard to describe the events of a book when it is really good so let me just write why this book was AMAZING. Basically, a girl is trying to get a good life. She has a job in a restaurant that serves gumbo. The characters seen very original. I really liked the book due to its clarity. I really liked the format of the book, where, through a set of diary entries, we see who the main character is. I really reco ...more
Alicia Huxtable
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
A feel good book abput a girl, Mary, wjo after years of abuse at the hands of her uncle finally has the chance to escape and live her own life. And she does, under the name Veronica. She studies and graduates University and has a good job at the restaurant Gumbeaux where she meets some lovely, lifelong friends. Eventually life catches up though and she is forced to return to her old life and take on responsibilities after her uncle passes. It was a good read amd one I'll possibly read again in t ...more
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really, really enjoyed Gumbeaux. I love the idea of reinventing yourself and seeing what life has to offer, and that is exactly what Mary Veronica Fait did. I also love that the whole story is told through Mary Veronica's diary entries. I have always had a soft spot for epistolary novels.
Kimberly Vargas did a great job of creating a very appealing world in the small town of Bayou Bend, Louisiana. I loved the local characters - they were people I wanted to sit down and share a meal with.
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not to kill a Mockingbird

For a first book this book grabs you and your off on a wild ride through the south, and to the healing of human souls. It keeps you in mental movie as great as "Gone with the Wind" As a matter of fact the two main male characters are sort of modern day Rhett Butler and Ashley Wilkes. So, get yourself a tall glass of sweet tea, and hang on for one wild Gumbo.
Ann Miller
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved the smart-mouthed, hard partying, gutsy college student Mary Fiat who escapes an abusive home and reinvents herself. Though she's been dealt a lot of pain, the reader applauds rather than pities her. Great plot, great characters, great voice! My only complaint--the dear-diary format that made me feel like I viewed the whole story through a keyhole. I'll have to check out Vargas' Petty Cash, written in conventional format. 4 Stars

Robin Thomas
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a very well written, surprise of a book. It is written in journal form, but the author uses it very well to give amazing detail in the big moments, but doesn't bother with the mundane. Told from Mary Fait (Veronica Fey)s point of view. She just wants a new life, so she assumes a new identity beyond her rich, yet troubled life in Washington, D.C. and starts over in Louisiana. Great read.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was a book about starting over and recreating a new identity by leaving your old self behind. The book was a diary of the main character that showed her learning how to make it without using her families money. It was also part Louisana history lesson. That is what really made it unique. It felt like you were right there with Mary/Veronica learning as she was learning. I would definately recommend this book. It was a easy read and could easily be read in one sitting.
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-free
The biggest problem I had with this book is that I never liked the main character. Yes, she had an awful childhood, but she was totally without empathy or compassion. At the end she tells us generally of her philanthropy, but she's an unreliable self-centered narrator, so who knows what that really means. She just didn't work for me. When she got money, she forgot all her friends, only contacting them when she needed them. She sure didn't learn much in her new life.
Oct 11, 2015 rated it liked it
When I first started reading, I really couldn't remember why I ordered this book or what it was to be about. A few entries in, I wasn't sure it was a book I would make it to the end. Slowly I picked it up here and there. Then about 1/3 in I started getting the, "What's gonna happen next" feeling. Beyond the halfway point, I didn't want to put down. It is a slow start, but keep reading. I think you will find it an entertaining read.
Allyson Yancey mccalister
I could not put it down

I just started reading it because it was next in line alphabetically on my list.
I got started and absolutely carried it everywhere with me.
Captivating is a word I seldom use but must here.
I highly recommend this one just for the plain enjoyment factor!
Rhiannan G
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I won this book on Goodreads giveaway.

Gumbeaux is a fairly simple novel about a girl needing to find herself. The setting is New Orleans, where all things are mysterious and magical.

Vargas created characters that were well thought out and extremely realistic.I just feel like I could have connected with Veronica a bit more.

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Kimberly Vargas has spent the last fifteen years developing instructional design content. She lives in San Diego county with her husband Michael and their three dogs. She is a stand up paddle boarding enthusiast and surfer in training. This is her first book.
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“Life can be amazing, so there’s no reason to check out early.” 1 likes
“Laissez les bon temps rouler means “Let the good times roll.” It’s the unofficial slogan of a place that’s a fondue pot full of community, cuisine, architecture, art, nature, and magic.” 0 likes
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