CARAVANS AND WEDDING BANDS: MEMORIES OF A ROMANY LIFE by EVA PETULENGRO.
For Romany Eva Petulengro, marrying outside her culture was a big step to take. In this charming sequel to The Girl In The Painted Caravan, Eva describes her new life as a true Romany girl getting used to living with a 'gorger'.*
As traditional Romany ways were disappearing day by day, Eva clung on tightly to her heritage, refusing to say goodbye to the only world she has ever known. In this wonderful book, she provides fascinating glimpses into the lives of her family and their past, telling tales of their whirlwind romances and travelling adventures. She also describes becoming a famous clairvoyant, with celebrity clients lining up to have their palms read, and talks about many of the colourful characters she meets along the way. But it was the Swinging Sixties and an innocent Romany girl could easily find herself in some strange situations .....
.... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): I lay awake in the dark, alert for sounds.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 104): One thing about our people that was different from the gorgers was that we didn't sing hymns and for occasions like funerals we would hire a choir. The reason for this, I believe, is that we sang when we were happy, and a funeral was not a happy occasion. Also many Romanies were illiterate and couldn't read the hymn books.
MY THOUGHTS: Like having a chat over the garden fence with a neighbour who has lots of colourful anecdotes to share, a neighbour who isn't beyond name dropping, a neighbour who doesn't always get her story straight in the re-telling, whilst Caravans And Wedding Bands held a certain appeal I wasn't always comfortable reading it.
Not nearly as good a read as The Girl In The Painted Caravan (see my review HERE), apart from all the contradictions in the story (many of them revolving around the traditional Romany wedding) I found this book to be largely lacking the appeal of the first, the insight into the authors Romany heritage sadly sparse.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: My thanks to Anya for sharing this book, I won't be buying a copy for the shelves.
* Gorger: Non-Romany.
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