Gypsy Girl : A Life on the Road. A Journey to Freedom Paperback
A life lived on the road and a heart that will always belong thereImagine being born into a world where communities are constantly on the move, but freedom is not a birthright.
Rosie grew up travelling all over England and Ireland in her family's caravan.
She had an idyllic childhood roaming fields and meadows with her younger brothers and sisters - free from the trappings of modern life, but restricted by the expectations of her culture.
When Rosie was 14, the family's happiness was shattered when her grandfather - who was loved and respected by the whole community - was killed in a tragic accident.
Suddenly everything in Rosie's life unravelled and she was forced to abandon the traditional way of life she loved.
Her family fell apart and Rosie tried her best to take care of her younger siblings and hold the family together.
As life at home became unbearable Rosie met Stevie, a traveller boy who promised her a different kind of life.
But, Stevie was battling his own demons and Rosie's journey to freedom had only just begun...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
- Publication Date: 15/09/2011
- Category: Autobiography: general
- ISBN: 9781444708264
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Review by PilgrimJess
“Home isn't just a trailer or four walls and a roof, home is the people that you love.” This is a biographical tale of Rosie McKinley and her life growing up as a traveller. She was born into a traditional traveller family with its set structure and hierarchy with her grandfather the glue that bound her family together. The whole family travel all around the country as well as abroad depending where the work is and girls are expected to grow up get married, have children and basically be subservient to men. Rosie has certainly had a hard childhood from pretty much from the day she was born, literally on a pavement. Due to the fact that they are constantly on the move and bigotry from both inside and outside the traveller community education is at best sparse to non-existent There are also problems with health care for much the same reasons but family life at least is structured and everyone knows what is expected of them. When her Grandfather dies, this structure slowly begins to unravel with devastating effects. Later Rosie compounds her problems with a poor choice in marriage.Rosie certainly has not had an easy early life but it is evident that she is a battler and even when things were going poorly for herself she always tries to make it better for those around her in particular her children and younger siblings. This is no great literary work but then Rosie was illiterate most of her life so that is understandable. As such this is an easy and fairly quick read. She can be very repetitive at times. However, on the plus side she gives an interesting insight into a culture alien to most 'settled' people. A culture that is slowly vanishing due to the pressures of modern life and various laws enacted to try and make travellers conform with the expected norm, all of the lawmakers are 'settled' people after all, so it is worth sticking with.I would not normally read this sort of book but if you are interested in learning a little about traveller culture beyond the 'My Fat Gypsy Wedding' TV shows then it's worth giving this a go.