Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies

Mikey Walsh. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-62208-4
First-time author Mikey Walsh provides an unsentimental and compelling look at the louche and brutal culture of Romany Gypsies in the U.K. Walsh’s education began at age four with training as a bare-knuckle boxer, a family tradition. “Training” meant a decade’s worth of his father beating him up. Walsh’s sensitivity left him open to further abuse, both sexual and otherwise. His sole escape was the company of other semiferal Gypsy children and in school; unfortunately, Gypsies frown on school, and he was put to work at age 12 in his father’s scams. Walsh’s realization of his homosexuality drove him to escape a world where he would always be a pariah. Walsh analyzes the grotesqueries of Gypsy life in painful detail—garish trailers, stifling family ties, crime and crudeness, and the constricted options for women who are considered old maids at 21. Yet despite his gruesome experiences, he also praises the fierce loyalty and cultural continuity that have allowed Gypsies to maintain their dignity in the face of hatred for centuries. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 02/14/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-250-01197-8
Hardcover - 278 pages - 978-0-340-97796-5
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-1-250-02202-8
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-340-97797-2
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