Gypsy Boy on the Run – Mikey Walsh


(Not discussed by the group but written in a personal capacity.)

I had been looking forward to the sequel of his first book and was not disappointed, though the first forty pages recap what I had already read, though this will mean that the book can stand alone for those who didn’t read the previous book.

The new material starts when Mikey undergoes an almost ritualistic stripping off of his former life with a hair cut, new clothes and jewellery discarded.

The story is vivid: my imagination did not have to work hard and I could envisage most of the scenes he wrote about, though I know some of the places he writes about in Leeds and Manchester.

Those who crave excitement have a dramatic car chase and lots of violence.

Those of us who are romantics appreciate the sacrifices made for love, the kindness of strangers and that someone believed in the author and gave him self-confidence.

Those who believe that people who grew in dysfunctional families go on to be attracted to dysfunctional people should read this book. The relationships Mikey gets into are far more complex than this simplistic truism.

That Mikey still loves and has tried to understand his violent father shows depth of character for someone so young. *

Having just finished this book, I feel the same sense of bereavement as I did on finishing the previous one. I lived the story as I read it and want to know more.

There are some loose ends: who was the gay author who used Mikey to flesh out a character in his own book? Will Mikey find lasting love? What happened to Caleb? Maybe a third book will tell us.

(We have not discussed this in the group but it was a ‘spin off’ from one of our meetings and this review is in a personal capacity.)

My father did his very best to beat it out of me for many years. And no matter how much he tried to, or what he did to kill it, he failed. And I failed him for not being able to change. When I was 15, I left home and I never returned. I still find life on the outside very strange. It’s odd to be a part of a race and then have it suddenly chopped away from you. Kinda like the Little Mermaid getting her legs, but being really shit at walking.

A lot of years have passed since I left and I’m very lucky to have a relationship with my family again. At least through odd phone calls and my annual pre-Christmas visit.

My mother always worries about my calling, in case she’s not there to grab the phone from my father when he answers. It’s very clear that she tries her best to keep my chats with him short and sweet. But this time she wasn’t around to grab the phone. I’ve never felt the need to come out to my father. Firstly, because, he knew I was gay before I did. And secondly, because I know how much it hurts him. Not because he’s ashamed of it, but because in his old way of thinking, he thinks the way he treated me turned me this way.

`How’s my grandson?’ he says with a throaty chuckle. He calls my dog, Brian, his grandson.

`He’s really well ta, how’re you?’

‘I’m good,’ he said. `Don’t worry about me. Listen, your mum’s not here, but I just want to tell you… I love you. You wont forget that will you?’

It seems that without the death scene and ritual burning, me and my father have actually had our fair share of Luke and Vader moments. Believe me, I never thought it would ever end up this way.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] am looking forward to reading the sequel when it comes out in […]

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