Wednesday 17 February 2021

Gypsy Boy on the Run


I bought this immediately after finishing his first autobiography, Gypsy Boy

GYPSY BOY: ON THE RUN picks up from where GYPSY BOY left off, and tells the gripping, page-turning story of Mikey's battle to escape the Romany gypsy camp he grew up on.

After centuries of persecution Gypsies are wary of outsiders and if you choose to leave, you can never come back. Torn between his family and his heart, Mikey struggles to come to terms with his ancient inheritance and dreams of finding a place where he can really belong.

He eventually finds the courage to run away from the camp and from all he knows, and quickly discovers life on the outside world isn't all he expected. After learning his father had put a contract out on his life and that he was now being hunted down by gangs of gypsy thugs determined to claim their reward, Mikey realises that his life will never be the same again.

ON THE RUN is a coming-of-age story that sees Mikey come to terms with his sexuality and his past and start to build a new life for himself and find a place to finally call home.

The first book was absolutely brilliant, which is why I picked this up straight after.

It wasn't bad, but there was a huge amount of repetition from the first book. At times it felt like it was just the first book but watered down. There were sections that were new, going into more depth about his relationship with the guy he ran away with, and getting into drama school. I can see why a follow-up was necessary, because none of that fitted into the first book, but having to recap previous stories for anyone who hadn't read the first book slowed it down a lot. 

There was one particular scene at a department store in Leeds where he was horrendously treated by both the department store and the police - falsely accused of shoplifting. He described the feeling and I wholly felt for him as I was falsely accused of shoplifting once, too. I was backpacking with a friend around Australia. We'd been into Target the day before and I'd bought a hat. I went back the next day to look at the clothes again but decided there wasn't anything I liked enough to buy. Not thinking about it at all, I went to leave the shop and they stopped me because I was wearing the hat from yesterday. I hadn't got the receipt on me but I told them to check their CCTV - I hadn't touched anything in the shop. I'd been a foot away from everything, just looking. I think they heard my English accent and decided it wasn't worth arguing, but told me not to come back to the store! No worries - I did not, and never will, spend another penny in Target as long as I live. I was only about 23 at the time, with no idea of my rights or what to do. It was humiliating and uncalled for. So, I knew exactly how he felt. But the way they treated him - strip searched, held even when they found nothing - it was disgusting.   

Still, there's a little humour in there:

Around once an hour, you heard the tumble of pins, confirmation that there was actually someone in the building doing something. In the diner, we had a few mocked-up 50s-style booths and a wide open space of ripped carpet where a play centre for toddlers used to stand before it became more of a danger zone than a play area.

Glad I read the sequel, but if you haven't read the first one, definitely start there.

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