Back cover blurb: This wildly engrossing memoir of growing up in the Romany Gypsy community offers a rare inside glimpse into a world few of us can imagine. Expected to become a bare-knuckle boxer like his father and grandfather, Mikey Walsh lives in a close-knit culture that is both criminal (nearly everything they do for money is illegal) and puritanical (an unwed woman caught alone with a man is shunned for life). But as he begins to realize that he’s gay, Mikey knows that he must leave the Gypsy lifestyle, and the mother and sister he loves, to find his own identity.
This book is beautifully written, completely fascinating, and heart-breaking. It was endorsed by Stephen Fry! I was fully prepared to read this entire book and write a review, but I had to stop reading. I have read memoirs before that detail child abuse and neglect and was able to make it through, no matter how difficult, but that isn’t the case with this one.
Mikey’s father was determined to turn him into a man, a boxer who would make him proud. His way of doing that was to beat Mikey brutally, every single day, starting at age six. He also sent him to work with his uncle, who raped him repeatedly. When I was reading, there came a point where I was sobbing so hard that I had to shut the book, and I simply can’t bring myself to open it again.
I so want this book to be read and reviewed, to get the publicity it deserves, and so I would like to give my copy (it’s an ARC) away to a blogger who would read it and review it. If that is you, please leave a comment below – I’ll send it to the first person who requests it. (U.S. and Canada only.)