Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: Rabbit Stew and A Penny or Two by Maggie Smith-Bendell (A Review)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Rabbit Stew and A Penny or Two by Maggie Smith-Bendell (A Review)

I really felt as if I was getting an insight into what it meant (and still means) to be a Romani by reading this book. Maggie's approach feels very much like someone talking to you about their life history, with the ocassional repetitions and asides that this is bound to bring. It speaks of a life full of joy and freedom as well as the hardships. It tells of prejudices and acceptance, as well as the attempt to keep a sense of identity amidst a changing world. This book will help you to see Romanis and travellers in general in a new and more sympathetic light- I throughly recommend it to all.

From the back cover:
Born in a Somerset pea-field in 1941, the second of eight children in a Romani family, Maggie Smith-Bendell has lived throughb the years of greatest change in the travelling community's long history. As a child, Maggie rode and slept in a horse-drawn wagon, picked hops and flowers, and sat beside her father's campfire on ancient verges, poor but free to roam. As the twentieth century progressed, common land was fenced off and traditional Gypsy ways disappeared. Eventually Maggie married a house-dweller and tried to settle for bricks and mortar, but she never lost the restless spirit, the deep love of the land and the gift of storytelling that were her Romani inheritance.
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