“The gypsy race is an old-fashioned and, sadly, a very bitter one. They live, breathe, sleep, grieve, love and care for only their own people. They don’t like or trust the ways of others and don’t have contact or friendships with other races, afraid that one day they will be forced to turn their backs on their once proud way of life and become like any other.”
Warren Rochelle review:
Gypsies were a stereotype: hoop ear rings, olive skin, colorful clothes, bandannas, and tambourines and they sang a song about the Gypsies being wild and free every time any outsider showed up.
So much for the mythology of popular culture and stereotypes. Mikey Walsh was born into a Romany Gypsy family in England and grew up in an insular, closeted world that had little connection to the greater non-Gypsy or Gorgia community. Rather the caravan was Mikey’s world–and this world, as he tells it in this frank and sometimes shocking memoir, has a “vibrant and loyal culture,” and yet it is a culture that hides abuse, taught him how to commit fraud, and it is a culture that apparently has no place at all for a gay boy.
Mikey Walsh obviously survived and escaped and today has a partner to whom he is married. His uncle, who sexually abused him for years as a child, was finally caught. Mikey’s father bullied his family for years–which only ended when a younger brother finally stood up to the man. Mikey had been his father’s punching bag. Mikey learned how to read, got the education he missed growing up and he is now bearing witness, even though as he says, “You can take the boy away from the Gypsies, but you can’t take the Gypsy out of the boy.”