THE GIRL IN THE PAINTED CARAVAN: MEMORIES OF A ROMANY CHILDHOOD by EVA PETULENGRO.
Born into a Romany gypsy family in 1939, Eva Petulengro's childhood seemed to her to idyllic in every way. She would travel the country with her family in their painted caravan and spend evenings by the fire as they sang and told stories of their past. She didn't go to school or visit a doctor when she was unwell. Instead her family would gather wild herbs to make traditional remedies, hunt game and rabbits for food, and while the men tended horses to make a living, the young girls would join the women in reading palms. But in the post-war era, Eva's perfect world would be turned upside down .....
...... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): I was born in a painted caravan in 1939, into a Romany family who had travelled the roads of Norfolk and the Lincolnshire fens for generations.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 177): She called us over and let us play on her stall while she waited for the evening bustle to get underway. What we were really doing, of course, was 'geeing' for the lady - pretending to be a customer having a go at the stall and then holding a big prize, as though we had won it.
MY THOUGHTS: An insightful and interesting look at the Romany way of life, Eva Petulengro paints a very vivid picture of her childhood during the 1940's as well as, of less interest to me, chronicling her career as a palmist/clairvoyant.
Wonderfully descriptive, the author gives us a rare (and at times I suspect rose tinted) glimpse of her family life, and the traditions and language of a vanishing way of life in a book that, though not the best written and somewhat lacking in the conversational element I prefer in memoirs of this type, is still very readable.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: Passed on by a friend, I shall in turn be passing this on.