Cummins has drawn a beautiful and eloquent picture of gyspy life in Ireland and created a charming and insightful character in young Christy. Christy tells his own story in the vernacular but it is fairly easy to adapt to this non-traditional narrative voice. In searching for his mother, Christy is, in many ways, searching for himself and his place in the world. He both envies a settled life and he scorns it as unthinkable. He faces prejudice from the local townspeople, causing him to carefully evaluate the lifestyle in which he has been raised. He knows his father is a good man but what of the loose interpretation of morality as compared to the town folk? He finds good and caring people who value and accept him despite his gypsy heritage. And he finds the help he needs to unravel the threads of his personal history.
Christy is on a quest and what he finds will shake many of his assumptions, shaping who he will become as he goes forward in life. This novel of exploration, mysteries long-buried and unacknowledged, and a way of life slowly dying out is an unexpected delight to read. Cummins has written an engaging and evocative coming of age novel about an unusual boy. Thoughtful and respectful, loaded full of gyspy tradition and reasoning, this story happily satisfies.
Thanks to Angela at NAL for sending me a copy of this book for review.