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Review: “Gypsy boy” by Mikey Walsh

August 29, 2011

Reviewed by Pamela

Mikey grew up in the unique and compelling society of the Romanian Gypsies in England.  This is a story of his childhood and eventual separation from the Gypsy community and from his family.  Mikey’s father and his ancestors were infamous amongst the Gypsy community for their fighting prowess – unfortunately for Mikey. Being a somewhat effeminate boy, his father was determined to “toughen him up”, and Mikey was beaten, abused and tormented by his father.

Outcast by the Gypsy community, Mikey had a choice – leave, or stay with his family but live a life of lies and secrets.   Despite having virtually no schooling and no knowledge of life outside the Gypsy community, Mikey managed to thrive on the “outside”.

I found this book to be a fascinating insight into the complex and sometimes contradictory customs of this closed community.  It was also inspiring, illustrating that no matter what obstacles are faced in childhood, they can be overcome.

Definitely worth a read. 

(Followed by the sequel “Gypsy boy on the run”, about his life in Liverpool, running from his fathers hitmen.  Also available is ‘Gypsy girl’ by Rosie McKinley).

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