Gypsy Boy

Gypsy Boy

My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies

Book - 2012 | 1st U.S. ed.
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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 agonizing 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.
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2012.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780312622084
0312622082
Branch Call Number: BIO WALSH WALSH
Characteristics: 278 p. ; 22 cm.

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f
fantasyqueen
Aug 18, 2018

interesting story

j
jackhwolf
May 24, 2018

This is a very tough, brutal, novel about a Romany boy growing up in a macho society where he is forced to fight against his abusive father and all comers to prove his manhood as he is realizing that he is gay. It reminds me a little of Jeanette Walls' Glass Castle in it shows the resilience and eventual triumph of youth in dire life circumstances. He rejects the extreme macho culture of his community while still showing affection for the life he was born into.

v
vickmeister
Mar 06, 2018

A brutal, unsentimental look into one young man's harrowing experience growing up in a Romany gypsy enclave in Britain during the 1980s: a testosterone-fueled world where violence, deceitfulness, and blindly-held tradition are all just part of daily life. Born to a family legendary for producing fierce champion fighters, sweet, sensitive Mikey becomes the bane of his furious father's existence, regularly beaten and forced to fight to try and turn him into the clan's vicious version of what a real man should be. This is a tough read, filled with appallingly barbarous situations, fascinating and horrible characters, and engrossing detailed description of what life was like for the Romany of that period.

bandblair Mar 25, 2013

A very interesting story.

m
mikebauer
Mar 13, 2013

The chapters are punched out, organized around incidents -- as though a good editor has worked some random writings into 'interesting'. There's some gay stuff and some stuff about Romanies, but the author's complete resistance to saying anything actually perceptive about his own reality turns love, say, into a boxing match between lurid and harlequin romance, with harlequin getting the weak and upper hand... bravely holding a rainbow flag in surrender... surrender to the co-lateral liberation forces of Edmund White, who've maybe told the author he had a life beyond being an author...

Linear and boring typing about what the author thinks is going on, or what the author thinks we want to read about it. Some interesting characters are discussed. Might make a good stage play, the characters are simple enough and one dimensional enough to have fun pretending to be them. You'd have to make a plot in this beyond 'I just got to get out if this place,' but maybe you could throw in a Picasso-type love interest... "I love you more than life, Pablo, but got to leave you, or I'd have to kill you because you're not gypsy." Now, that was a story.

d
DBWaterlow
Jun 10, 2012

This autobiographical novel provides a gripping and often shocking no-holds-barred insight into 21st century British gypsy life. At times it can be quite ironic and humourous.

That this highly traumatic autobiographical story was ever written, given the level of violent child abuse the author suffered at the hands of his father, is something of a miracle.

Highly recommended for those interested in contemporary Britain and contemporary British gypsy life.

It's also a wonderful model for young people struggling to transcend childhood rejection by, and repeated brutal abuse from their families, and for children struggling to escape from their family's cyclical history of very unhealthy co-dependant parental relationships.

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blue_cheetah_7026
Jun 16, 2018

blue_cheetah_7026 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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