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Gypsy Boy: One Boy's Struggle to Escape from…

Gypsy Boy: One Boy's Struggle to Escape from a Secret World (2010)

by Mikey Walsh

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I wrote a review of this book when I read it in 2012. There followed a long discussion in which at least one point was that the gypsies did not enslave people for work (and sometimes to take their benefits) and that was sheer bias against them. I remembered that when I read this article today, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2280045/Family-millionaire-travellers-ja... and went to go back to the review to add the link.

But the book and the review and the discussion are all missing from My Books. I have no idea how or why and am very unhappy about it, but what to do? I wrote a Feedback comment and it was suggested I might have accidentally deleted the book myself. I can't see how, but I suppose it is a possibility. I wonder if anyone remembers the discussion? Or maybe I'm off with the fairies and imagined it.

I like writing reviews but what I like most of all is when a review engenders a really good discussion. To me that is the best thing of all about GR, discussing books with friends. Everyone is a friend when talking about books. I don't mean 'friends list' ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
Brutal story of Mikey's life growing up in a Romany family in England. Beaten to a pulp by his father who wanted him to be a fighter, sexually abused by an uncle, this story was harrowing. Mikey ran away from home as a teen when he discovered he was gay and could not live in his environment. ( )
  coolmama | Aug 22, 2012 |
Mikey, had a tough upbringing as a Romany Gipsy child, a brutal father who would beat him on a daily basis, and an uncle who for or a time a who would abuse him weekly in perhaps an even worse way. Mikey new he was different, he did not relish the violent ways of his people, but it was not until puberty that he realised the full extent of his difference; and with that came the realisation that his only way to survive was to escape.

Gipsy Boy is Mikey's own account of his childhood. With minimal schooling and introduced early into adulthood as is the ways of his people, he manages to find only the occasional respite from his torturous upbringing until while still little more than a child he finds his way out with his first love, and this not with a woman or a fellow gipsy.

Mikey's story, reveals a lot about the Romany Gipsies once proud way of life, their contempt for other races and even other gypsies. It is both frank and very moving book, a book that is difficult to put down once one starts reading; highly recommended. ( )
  presto | Apr 24, 2012 |
I'm fascinated by Gypsies for some reason, and this book was an interesting window into their rigid culture. I guess when you've been the victim of so much violence you need to externalize it by describing every instance in great detail, but it made for difficult reading. The end of the book, where Mikey finally finds happiness, felt rushed and perfunctory. All in all, interesting but not a work of art - which only the greatest memoirs achieve. ( )
  bobbieharv | Apr 13, 2012 |
Gypsy Boy explores the world of the modern Romany Gypsy community in England. It follows the true story of Mikey Walsh - a pseudonym given to protecting the author's real name. He and his family travel around England in caravans and make a living by cheating Gorgias (non-Gypsies) out of their money. When not scamming the locals, Mikey's father tries to train Mikey to be a bare-knuckle boxer as part of a proud lineage of family boxers. Mikey doesn't take to the sport and this causes Mikey's father to abuse him senselessly. This is common amongst other Romany Gypsies, but Mikey's father is especially brutal. For this reason Mikey cannot be absolutely truthful and hides the fact that he is gay.

This is was very interesting memoir and one that I finished rather quickly to see how it ended. It's a fascinating look into a culture I knew nothing about. The men are portrayed as hot blooded and the women must marry by 18 and bear children. Both sexes are hot tempered, foul mouthed and prone to breaking the law. Community is everything. It was easy to sympathize with Walsh who belonged to all this and yet knew that his sexual preference would forever keep him from being accepted.

This is an ARC copy and so I'm not sure what the final outcome of the book is, but my one criticism would be its final chapter. It felt rather rushed when it was what I had been waiting for the entire time. I understand that the author is/has been working on a second memoir about what happened next and it is going on my wishlist. I would recommend this to other memoir lovers or people curious about the Gypsy community. A word of warning though, there is language, incest and very brutal abuse. ( )
  rosylibrarian | Dec 25, 2011 |
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Not to be confused with "Gypsy Boy on the Run" (2011), the second volume of his memoirs.
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Mikey was born into a Romany Gypsy family. They lived in a closeted community, and little is known of their way of life. After centuries of persecution Gypsies are wary of outsiders and if you choose to leave you can never come back. This is something Mikey knows all too well. Growing up, he didn't go to school, he seldom mixed with non-Gypsies and the caravan became his world. Eventually Mikey was forced to make an agonising decision, to stay and keep secrets, or escape to find somewhere to belong. His father and grandfather were champion bareknuckle boxers in England's Gypsy community. But Mikey had no interest in fighting. He was proud of his heritage and loved his mother and sister, but as he grew older he came to realize he had a secret that would never be accepted: he was gay. This memoir reveals, for the first time, what life is really like among the Romany Gypsies. It is a culture apart, one that is equally more criminal and more puritanical than our own.… (more)

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