This is also another book which made me cry, like buckets this time. You'll understand why as I explain the book.
This is written under a pseudo name – he used one of the characters from The Goonies film. Much of the book is about the ways which gypsies live their lives. Now that we live in a post ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ age this may come as less of a shock to some reading it.
Much is familiar territory to those who’ve seen MBFGW, courting practices, living practices, how gypsies regard gorgias (non gypsies).
The really interesting part of this story is when Mikey realises he is gay. Being gay in gypsy culture is a massive no no. It’s seen as un-manly, and just isn’t accepted. Mikey tries very hard to fit in and his father despairs of him not doing the correct and proper gypsy man things, so he beats him harder and harder.
In addition to the physical abuse Mikey suffers, he also suffers other abuse over a number of years. This was, unsurprisingly, the hardest part of the book to read. I actually had to re-read some phrases to absorb the full gravity of what Mikey was saying. I won’t quote any here as it is very upsetting. The writing style is very conversational and in the first person, so you feel exactly as if Mikey is telling you what happened. Even the abuse, is told in a quite matter of fact way. This isn’t to minimise its significance, it is told like that, because it was a matter of fact. Those things happened to Mikey and he continued to live his life.
He starts a secret relationship with someone which would be frowned on for two reasons: it is a man, and it’s a gorgia man. Even friendships with gorgia men aren’t well received by his gypsy family.
END OF SPOILER ALERT
When it all becomes too much Mikey leaves his family which is a huge wrench as he misses his mum and sister so much. I’m not giving much away here - the second book is called ‘Gypsy Boy On The Run’
The honesty and openness with which this story is told, is breathtaking. The simplicity of the writing beautiful. If you read one autobiographical story this year, make it this one. I listened to him interviewed on Radio 2 and he speaks exactly as he writes, with chatty openness and an unassuming air. I hope he writes more as I would read more from this author.
Have you read this book? Would its subject matter be difficult for you? I’d love to hear.
Until next time
Liam Livings xx