21 Dec 2012

THE GIRL IN THE PAINTED CARAVAN: MEMORIES OF A ROMANY CHILDHOOD.

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.




12 comments:

Joan Robertson said...

Ooo I'm glad you,ve reviewed this, I have it on my kindle and read it not long ago , I enjoyed it , we have a caravan , so that was one of the reasons I got it , interesting to see your view on it , thanks

Heather said...

it is certainly and interesting lifestyle. It doesn't seem to fit well with modern society or at least when they move to the big urban areas.

Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books said...

Not a typical read for me but it does sound interesting. I may have to check it out!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

This does sound interesting. I'm intrigued by the Romany culture.

Alyce said...

Looks fascinating! I'm intrigued by the description of the book and curious what happens to her.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Looks interesting. I think I'd be with you. More interested in the way of life than her chosen career. Great review.

naida said...

This sounds like a good one. I've been watching 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' which features the Romanies and thier way of life, but mostly the trashy version. So this one sounds refreshing.

Kelly said...

Not sure I would ever have picked this up, but your review makes it sound quite interesting.

Suko said...

This does sound like an captivating look at Romany life, which I know so little about.

fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

It sounds as though you enjoyed this one.

I have seen several copies of it sold in the shop where I volunteer and one of my colleagues has read and enjoyed it.

Several fellow bloggers have also given it good reviews, although I am not into reading memoirs, so this probably isn't one that I shall be picking up.

Yvonne

Alexia561 said...

Sounds like an interesting book! Like you, I'd be more interested in her life than her career. Not a big memoir fan, but the Romany culture is intriguing.

GMR said...

Hmm...certainly a book I wouldn't have picked up when browsing but interesting nonetheless. Too bad on the lack of conversation but overall still sounds enjoyable. Thanks for the share!