Thursday 18 August 2011


Rabbit Stew And A Penny Or Two: A Gypsy Families Hard Times And Happy Time On The Road In The 1950's by Maggie Smith-Bendell Reviewed by Guest Reviewer Ena.

This book is about Maggie Smith-Bendell, who was born in a pea field in Somerset in 1941.Maggie is the second child of eight in a Romani family. Maggie has lived through the massive changes that have happened in the long history of the Romani Traveller's history.Maggie travelled all around the country as a young child in a horse drawn wagon. She slept in the wagon too, she picked hops and flowers and sat at the side of a campfire with her father. They were a poor family but they enjoyed the freedom to roam the country as they wished. As the twentieth century came things changed spare common land was fenced off and so the travellers life as it had been disappeared. Maggie married a house dweller and tried to settle into that lifestyle but, she never lost the restless spirit she had that wanted to roam the country, that along with her love for the land and her story telling were her Romani Inheritance.
Maggie's story is one of hardship on the road, prejudices, but it also has the love and loyalty of a Romani family at its roots. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is sad that the Romani have in some cases been forced into being house dwellers and they have had to conform to societies rules and regulations when all they desire is a simple life in peace. The book covers the hardship faced by the Romani but has the good times in there too. I would recommend this book I enjoyed the insight it gave into Romani life.

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