“Gypsy Boy” by Mikey Walsh

This book, I picked up because it was recommended by Stephen Fry. I was hoping it would give some insight into Romany culture, I was a little disappointed. As the cover suggests it is one of those autobiographies about a miserable childhood. The boy here happens to be a Romany Gypsy born in England, who has the misfortune to be born to a violent father. His father was a bare-knuckle champ in his day and wants little Mikey to follow in his footsteps,  but Mikey is not cut out to be a fighter like his dad.

Gypsy Boy

Gypsy Boy

To “train” Mikey his father gives him regular beatings and makes him fight his sister. If the physical abuse wasn’t bad enough, there is Uncle Joseph who sexually abuses young Mikey. This is the story of a wretched childhood. The narrator writes a good story but there is little about Romany culture. There is some detail of the criminal element, shoplifting sprees and the drive tarmacking scams (the sort of detail which would pander to Daily Mail Reader’s prejudices about gypsies). Ironically after telling of all his family’s criminal exploits, Mikey says it is Irish Travellers that give gypsies a bad name…

As Mikey hits his teens he discovers he is gay, in the macho world of the gypsy male this is beyond the pale, he can’t remain true to his nature and stay with his family, so he begins to hatch an escape plan with a Gorgia (non-gypsy) fried, Caleb.

My rating 3 out of 5

 

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About jimholroyd365

Hi, my name is Jim, I am an Englishman living in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. I started this blog to share my interests, my photos and to make sense of my world. I take a lot of photographs of various subjects, some of which I intend to share here. I collect diecast cars and get the same thrill at 50 as I did when I was 8, when I find a car I'm searching for, Don't worry, I have a separate blog for this hobby. Please feel free to comment and ask questions on what I blog. I am quite new to this blogging, I was inspired by reading a book, which began as a blog of a London Ambulance Driver: "Blood, Sweat and Tea". I hope my blog will be entertaining and amusing, I did try stand up comedy in the UK and had seven gigs before I left to teach English in Georgia. I love reading and so the blog will include book reviews of books as I finish them.I don't know about which direction this blog will go, I am a great believer in serendipity...let the journey begin...
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