Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh

Well, first off this book ought to come with a warning. It should be stated that anyone with a tender heart, who literally gets sick to their stomach when hearing or reading about child abuse in every form imaginable, they need to know that when they get to the end of the book, they will be inspired. The most difficult read for me to date, I found this book heart-wrenching, disturbing (on many levels) and quite sickening. Having said that, I also found this book to be inspiring in a way I have never seen before, and that is because it is a true story, written by the man who survived. And survive he did.

This is a story about Mikey Walsh (not his real name) and he tells the tale of his life growing up in a Romany Gypsy camp. His writing style is matter-of-fact, which is perfect for this kind of a story. He is literally surrounded by people who, at one time or another, do him harm. His mother is really the only one in the family who shows him any love whatsover, and even she can't keep him safe from her abusive husband. Mikey also mentions a teacher who really tried to help him, and I am hoping that she gets a chance to read this book so she will know how much she meant to him. This gypsy culture is so different from anything I have ever known, and I found myself wondering why those living in the camp would knowingly allow these things to happen. It was quite sad.

But again, after all the disappointments in his life, and the struggles he faced in trying to live up to what his father wanted, and the total isolation he must have felt living with this family, Mikey came out on top. He endured so much in his young life and it didn't scar his heart.

This was a tough book to get through. I admire Mikey for his strength, his character and his courage to write these things down on paper so that the whole world can know what his life was truly like.

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