Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies
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An Eye-Opening Memoir of Growing Up Gypsy
Mikey Walsh was born into a Romany Gypsy family. They live in a secluded community, and little is known about 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 only too well.
Growing up, he didn't go to school, he seldom mixed with non-Gypsies, and the caravan became his world. It was a rich and unusual upbringing, but although Mikey inherited a vibrant and loyal culture, his family's legacy was bittersweet, with a hidden history of violence and grief. Eventually Mikey was forced to make an agonizing decision―to stay and keep secrets, or escape and find somewhere to belong.
Gypsy Boy shows, for the first time, what life is really like among the Romany Gypsies. A surprise #1 bestseller in Great Britain, this is a one-of-a-kind memoir of a little-seen world, one both fascinating and heartbreaking.
made a good choice; the film was The Wizard of Oz and it enchanted us. After that Frankie and I began a ritual of watching it daily, then going out into the garden to act out our favourite moments from it. Frankie was always the wicked witch, while I was her faithful, flying monkey. Together we would swing back and forth on an old rope that our father had tied to a tree branch, flying through the air before taking a great cackle-filled leap to the ground. Our tree was divided into two halves,
it?’ ‘Why?’ I answered, beginning to feel very uncomfortable. ‘I want to see what it looks like.’ I didn’t know what I was supposed to say. I pursed my lips and nodded. Uncle Joseph removed his hand and lifted my legs, slowly removing my shoes and socks, then everything else. I was naked on the table, trying to stay within the warmth of the heater’s beam. ‘Turn around,’ said Joseph, poking me in the arm. I did, five times or so, feeling more like a kebab than ever. He shouted me to stop as
mother bought him a bed and a dresser as well as a fridge, a cooker and a lamp powered by a huge cable extension that ran from our electric box. He quickly became one of the family. My father even took him to buy a brand-new wardrobe and have a haircut, and he promised him a decent wage, so that he could save up and get a life outside work. And away from us. My father had saved Kevin, and yet at the same time Kevin had saved my father. Kevin’s innocence and need for help awoke a side of my
smashing crockery. He had tripped and fallen into Henry-Joe and Jimmy’s old bathwater, taking half a table of crockery with him. ‘Open the fffukinnn dooare!’ The door was flung open and he finally disappeared from sight. Now only Kenny was left outside. I slipped on some shoes and went out. The night was humid and sticky and the smell of cigarettes and alcohol hung in the air. I opened the car door, reaching inside to turn off the beams, which were still on. For weeks I had been longing to
perfect spelling, ‘I love you’. Soon after that, Jamie-Leigh got involved with the underworld and began smuggling drugs. She was caught with cocaine strapped to her thighs, and is now serving a long sentence in a South American prison. I don’t know if we will ever meet again, but I will always feel she is a part of me. My cousin Tory got married and lives with his wife and children in a house across the way from Granny Bettie. Noah is divorced and works as a bodyguard now. Aunt Maudie had a