Gypsy Boy

Gypsy Boy - Mikey Walsh I jumped at the opportunity to review "Mikey Walsh's" (the author uses a pseudonym) book as I am researching the Romany culture for a work of my own. There are few memoirs about the Romany Gypsies, and this is a first-hand look at their life in modern times.Mikey starts his tale with his wedding day, looking back on his life up until that moment. He recounts his father's bullying ways as he wants to make his son into a great bare-knuckle boxer like so many of the other men in the family. He recounts all of the abuse he receives at the hands of various uncles (all adults are referred to as aunt and uncle as a sign of respect, so he does not always know whether or not he is truly related). Education is not respect and, because the Romany Gypsies move so frequently, it is sporadic in any case. Boys are considered men at age 12 and expected to go to work. Few in Mikey's circle are literate.The story reveals the strict moral codes to which women are held (divorced women are never spoken to again, an unmarried woman caught along with a man must either marry him or be shunned, etc.). The men are held to no such codes -- with the exception that one must never be gay. And herein lies Mikey's problem, for he comes to realize that is the case with himself fairly early on. The remainder of the book talks about the problems he encounters dealing with his sexual orientation.Honestly, this is a book I found hard to put down for a variety of reasons. Mikey's story is a poignant one, but it is ultimately a tale of triumph. I found the look inside the Romany culture to be enlightening and Mikey's voice as an author quite entertaining. I look forward to reading more by this author.(Review based on uncorrected advance proof.)