This is a fascinating and realistic look at what it means to be a Gypsy in today's society. At times it is dreadful as Violet shares the insults thrown at her during her life. I have lived in towns/villages and worked with women from the gypsy community. I was a nurse and midwife and learned early to visit with time to spare as once I'd sern one woman, another would ask advice etc. They were great times and lovely people. I can say quite honestly that I have never experienced any difficulty with this. As in all groups of people you get good and bad but more good than bad mostly. It's good to read an honest account as most peoples understanding of the Gypsy and Traveller community come straight from "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" and you don't have to be Einstein to realise that such a programme is focusing only on "outlandish". As for the reviewer who mentioned domestic violence I can assure you that in all my years working with womens refuges I can count on half of one hand the number of Gypsy women in need of their services. Obviously there are two sides to that coin - perhaps they suffer in silence but I don't think so. A little understanding of Gypsy traditions goes a long way and I hope we see more biographies like this one. Excellent read, devoured over one weekend. Here's to you Violet - a massive well done for sharing your life on paper and helping to break down barriers.
Although I enjoyed this book, I came away with the feeling that it could have been raised to a five star read if it had been penned by a ghost writer. It needed someone who would have asked the questions that we, as Gorja (non-gypsies), would have liked to have asked, and it also needed a lot of the repetition removed.
I think we are all aware that Gypsies have a hard time, especially in schools, and it was good to learn that members of the Gypsy community are being employed to break down the barriers and ease the process. I was surprised to discover that sex before marriage is highly disapproved of, even the use of the 's' word is taboo. I also learned that Gypsies marry very young, while still in their teens, and the author was frowned on for still being single at the age of 22. Still more surprising, especially considering the confined spaces in which they live, was their attitude towards nudity. Even siblings who share a bed would not expect to see each other unclothed. Similarly, bladder control had to be learned early, as the lack of toilets meant going off site and 'number twos' had to be done in the dark.
I would have liked to have known more about the way they kept in contact while separated all over the country - somehow everyone managed to turn up for a family wedding. It would also have been interesting to learn a bit more historical background. While there is a lack of written history, the oral tradition is strong and this could have been fascinating.
Although I gave this book 5*, I should perhaps mention that within my book group I was in the minority. The three others who attended were not impressed and only gave around 2*. They criticised the writing and the repetition and found it an uninspiring read. Just as well they are not writing this review :)
I really enjoyed this book. I have read many gypsy books but Violet's book just brought it to life. She comes across as such a lovable person. It's very honest and down to earth. I loved reading about her gypsy life and how she was bullied for being a gypsy.I would really recommend this book.
Really enjoyed this book. When I was at school in Kent we had many travelling children who came to school in winter only. I don't remember them having any difficulties with bullying, me and my classmates found their way of life interesting. One girl told me that she washed her hair in rainwater to keep it smooth, she did have beautiful hair. When a visiting hairdresser came to school to explain about a career in hairdressing, he told us that she had the best conditioned hair he'd ever seen. I think that some groups of less traditional people give real travelling families a bad name. This book gave me a small insight into the lives of real gypsies. I am now looking for more information, Violet Cannon you have me hooked.