No Gypsies Served - Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

No Gypsies Served
by Miriam Wakerly
Paperback 262 pages
Published 01/03/2010
by Strongman Publishing
ISBN: 9780955843211
Price: £8.99

“No Gypsies Served” is to all intents and purposes the sequel to “Gypsies Stop tHere”, which was Miriam Wakerly's first novel, published 2008, however, both books can equally stand alone even though they are connected. I would therefore recommend to buy both books. The reader won't regret it, of that I am sure.

The back cover of the book reads: “Two years have passed since Kay successfully campaigned for the Appley Green Gypsy Site,and four years since her husband was murdered. Life in the village was going so well until the phone call and letter. Then comes the disastrous site opening. Worst of all, Dunstan, whom she realises is her best friend and ally, is giving her the cold shoulder for some unknown reason. Dunstan is taking an emotional trip down memory lane, into childhood as a Gypsy on the road, and his eventual break from his people. Why is he so angry with Kay that he keeps away from her? Chances of a longed for reconciliation look slim ...” More I shall not give away of the story, for that would no be fair.

This is another great book by Miriam Wakerly dealing with the subject of Gypsies and Travellers in Britain and this one may possibly be even better than the previous one entitled “Gypsies stop tHere”. In fact I would say that it is a brilliant book and one that will have the reader spellbound. The story is extremely well written and the information regarding the Gypsy persecution at home and abroad is well represented. The story has multiple strands that are all extremely believable and real and which will have the reader riveted. Personally, I can identify with the figure of the Gypsy Dunstan in the story as growing up in a bender was also part of my childhood. Much has changed since and I am now, amongst other things, a journalist and living in a house. In the end the story turns out well for all concerned and it would be so good if this book would lead to such things in real life too."

Some of Dunstan's memories that he is writing down reminded me, as I have said above, of my own childhood around the highways and byways of the English countryside. But would I want to ever return to that life? The answer here is an definite no. And I must say that anyone who claims, after living in bricks and mortar, he wishes to be back po drom cannot be serious. But, I digressed.

This book is one that I can wholeheartedly recommend to the reader and the story will leave the reader spellbound throughout the entire book. Miriam has put so many different angles and plots into this book that boredom just cannot ever rear its head, making this book a real page turner.

I initially read the book, in manuscript form, when I was suffering from the Swine Flu and the side effects of Tamiflu and it was reading the manuscript for this book that kept me sane.

In both her books “Gypsies Stop tHere” and “No Gypsies Served” the author portrays Gypsies (and Travellers) as individual people, just like the rest of the population, making their way in life in the best way that they are able to.

Reading this compelling story allows one to hope for it to become perfectly possible for Gypsies to be accepted successfully into our communities. This will, however, require a deal of give and take, and that on both sides.

Miriam's books, hopefully, will go some distance towards this understanding in that it may make the Gohja, the non-Gypsy, understand that Gypsies do not have cloven hooves and do not steal children, etc., and also, hopefully, for I also recommend that Gypsies and Travellers read this book, for members of the Gypsy and Traveller communities to understand why, possibly, there are those prejudices in the non-Gypsy population towards us.

Miriam Wakerly has many articles and short stories published in magazines. “No Gypsies Served” is her second published novel. She has a BA Degree in Combined Studies (English, French, Sociology and Politics)from Leicester University and is a member of the Society of Authors. a non-Gypsy she has studied the subject and gives talks. She was on BBC Oxford, The Write Lines, in November 2009.

© 2010

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