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Gypsy Boy on the Run
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on 2 October 2017
How beautifully written this is - the very best of all the Romany childhood books on offer. Mikey Walsh is wise, wonderful, and has a unique story to tell. Hard to believe this likeable young man could not read or write until he was more than 16 and had bravely left his culture for a new life. Truly inspirational.What a great drama this is going to make for the BBC
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on 10 November 2012
I had been looking forward to the sequel of his first book and was not disappointed, though the first forty pages recap what I had already read, though this will mean that the book can stand alone for those who didn't read the previous book.

The new material starts when Mikey undergoes an almost ritualistic stripping off of his former life with a hair cut, new clothes and jewellery discarded.

The story is vivid: my imagination did not have to work hard and I could envisage most of the scenes he wrote about, though I know some of the places he writes about in Leeds and Manchester.

Those who crave excitement have a dramatic car chase and lots of violence.

Those of us who are romantics appreciate the sacrifices made for love, the kindness of strangers and that someone believed in the author and gave him self-confidence.

Those who believe that people who grew in dysfunctional families go on to be attracted to dysfunctional people should read this book. The relationships Mikey gets into are far more complex than this simplistic truism.

That Mikey still loves and has tried to understand his violent father shows depth of character for someone so young.

Having just finished this book, I feel the same sense of bereavement as I did on finishing the previous one. I lived the story as I read it and want to know more.

There are some loose ends: who was the gay author who used Mikey to flesh out a character in his own book? Will Mikey find lasting love? What happened to Caleb? Maybe a third book will tell us.
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on 8 April 2012
Having read the first book "Gypsy Boy" on the coach going to London, I settled down to read this on the one heading back to London. Like many a reader before me, I really wanted to know more about Mikey's life once he had got away from his Gypsy life.

Again this is a compelling book which was really difficult to put down. Apart from the first chapter which is a quick re-cap for those who may not have read the previous book, this follows Mikey from the day he left until virtually the present day. I'm afraid to say it is not a story of happy endings. There are high points, and Mikey does meet some exceptionally great people but he also gets into awful situations, such as 'queer bashing' which are horrendous to read about. Especially when you consider that these events happened fairly recently not back in the 1950's or some other time where such things were regular occurrences and even encouraged by society.

Through it all, two major things stood out for me; Mikey's inner strength and ability to face anything, and the fact that at the end of the day, he was proud not only to be gay but also a Gypsy despite everything that had happened.

The reconciliation with his family had me once more reaching for the hanky to dry my eyes and the downfall of the Pedophile uncle almost had me jumping out of my seat for joy.

is there a happy ending this time? Well, I can't really say. Mikey talks about the response to his first book and the effects of that on him and his loved ones and I found myself experiencing the emotions with him in an empathetic way that took me by surprise.

To summarise, once again Mikey has produced an extremely readable, if uncomfortable at times, book that left me emotionally drained and praying for him to have a long and happy life.
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on 9 August 2011
I liked this book, but didn't love it like I did "Gypsy Boy". It's familiar and great to learn a bit more about the amazing Mikey Walsh, but for me there was too much repetition from the first book. It takes the first 4 or 5 chapters before we get into new territory. The voice is the same - his writing honest and heartfelt, his spirit unbreakable despite the numerous setbacks. Little wonder he is so emotionally scared and craving love from anyone who can give it. This book stirs so many emotions - I laughed, cried, felt angry and scared, but overall felt proud of Mikey. What an incredible, flawed individual trying to make the most of his new life constantly haunted by the past, always grappling with his identity. This book clashes Romany gypsy life with modern London living, takes us from teenage to turning thirty through Manchester, Leeds and the capital, through bar work and drama school and through love, family and friendship. Mikey lives life in technicolor and his ability to forgive is an absolute parable. I just hope one day he finds peace away from his demons and happiness in a lasting relationship.
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on 18 October 2017
This was a gripping and very tense read. It is best if one reads 'Gypsy Boy' by the same author first but if you do then the first forty pages can be skipped. A gripping testament to the difficulties of not fitting in to a closed society with rigid rules and violent enforcement. A tale also of hope and vindication.
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on 27 April 2014
I found Gypsy Boy by chance and was fascinated to read Mikey's story, then absolutely wanted to hear how he got on next. Thankfully he had written this follow up by then! Neither book is particularly easy to read, in that it's hard to understand some of the behaviours and injustices - although that is true for any society. That Mikey reached a point where he could write two books with such honesty and lack of judgement is amazing. His story is sad, funny, at times horrific and always inspirational. I feel honoured to have read it and gained some additional insight into gypsy culture.
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on 8 September 2015
There seems to be a debate going on weather this story is 100% true? Personally I don't know, however the whole story does tend to knit together rather too neat & tidy so there may be a certain amount of artistic licence afoot. On the other hand it is quite entertaining in a kind of ITV Drama sort of way, & Mr Walsh does have a nice approach to story telling...
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on 5 October 2013
i enjoyed this, easy to read and it didn't take long, maybe a couple of days.

what's right with it.
easy to read, a page turner to take on holiday. i was taken in with mikey's story and felt for him throughout the book.

what's wrong with it.
right until the end i had a lot of sympathy for mikey but once i'd sat down and thought about it after i felt that it wasn't entirely genuine. i don't know anyone who is perfectly good, all sweetness and light 100% of the time. i get it's an autobiography and mikey wants us to see him in the best possible light but there's light and shade in everyone and i just didn't feel he gave enough of that. it felt like i was given one side of a character and that's it. while mikey is rather vibrant he's also a bit cardboard
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on 13 November 2011
This is a follow up to the author's 'Gipsy Boy'. This book, written a year later, covers much the same ground but goes into more detail of the later life and there is some new information at the end. To my mind this is a better book; it is more balanced. The awful things in the boy's childhood - the fights, the beatings, the extreme cruely of the father, became a bit much in the first book; the same patterns repeating over and over (one has sympathy but ...). The early life is not ignored here but the later events in the boy's life are more interesting - the problems he has in making a life of his own away from his family and the Romany culture. As might be expected, he does not find it easy and there are many setbacks.
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on 15 April 2012
As the first novel "Gypsy Boy", the second part of this incredible autobiography catches you on the first few pages, too! Now it's about Mikey's life after having left the traveller community, the struggle to find a way through the world as a gay man. Again, it is absolutely impressive imagining that all these events happend not in the Middle Age but in the 1980ies and 1990ies... And in addition to the enthralling life story, the author's writing is amazing: it just keeps you reading and reading - a real true-to-life language.
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