ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Year The Gypsies Came

Updated on June 20, 2014

My Review

The Iris family lives in Johannesburg, Africa. Where you can "fall asleep with the faint roar of a lion or the laugh of a hyena coming across the lake." Their story takes place in the Spring of 1966 and is described through the eyes of the youngest member, twelve-year-old Emily. Other members of the family include mother Lily, father Bob and older sister Sarah.

Lily is known for spending money, arguing with Bob and tomcatting. Bob is known for working long hours, trying to make friends with his daughters and selling chocolates. Sarah is a gentle red-head always trying to see the best in everyone and everything even when things are going wrong.

Emily has short dark hair and is a tomboy. She thinks dolls are boring and hates the colour pink. She is insecure, "I'm just a dark-haired pile on the floor that could easily be missed." Her only friend in school is Cynthia Wright but her most important relationship is the one she has with her sister. She and Sarah are always compassionate to one another even with something as simple as a game of checkers.

Her parents have a fiery relationship, openly fighting in front of them and the staff. "The fights always start with something as small as chocolates and then become something else, something bigger. I can't hear the actual words, just the sounds of anger," says Emily. The only time Lily and Bob have some semblance of a normal relationship is when they have company. The girls become especially excited when Bob comes home to let them know he ran into some "gypsies" on one of his walks and they accepted his offer to park their trailer at the end of their estate.

The Gypsies are made up of Jock and Peg Mallory and their two sons Streak and Otis. They aren't real gypsies but have travelled the continent in their trailer since before the boys were born. Jock supports his family as a wild life photographer. Otis had his head damaged when he was a baby which has made him a bit slower than normal. Streak is a bit brash and has trust issues. Neither have had contact with other children (let alone girls) or civilized society. They immediately take a liking to the Iris girls spending any time they can with them outside of the girls' school.

Another important character is sweet Buza, the night watchman/gate keeper. He is an elderly Zulu man and story teller who walks with a cane and tells stories to Emily when she comes to visit him in the watch house. He is her confidant and surrogate parent. Through him Linzi Glass laces short African tales which offer their own little morals within a few pages. One of my favourite was the story of Ma-We and the honey guide. Others include the phython story, the wolf story, the story of Rolihlahla and the story of two sisters, Yaphansi and Intombi. I would love to read more about Buza and his history.

As the weeks pass Emily becomes stricken by the stories Streak shares with her about his family. Her own family doesn't look so bad after all. A growing fear murmurs inside her whenever she's around Jock who she labels "the secret enemy under the car, with a hidden weapon in a drawer, a killer-soldier camouflaged as a photographer." It isn't until one fearful night she realizes her fear was misdirected. But by then it's too late and her and Sarah's lives are changed forever.

The use of simile is overbearing at times and some of the content is a little more mature than I would like for young adult readers. At the end is a helpful glossary of Afrikaans / Zulu words and Expressions. The Year of the Gypsies Came is Linzi Glass' first novel and she has created a compelling story with interesting characters. I couldn't help but care about them and I could literally feel the tension the author creates for Emily and Sarah when their parents argue. It's painful. The love Emily feels for Sarah and Buza is also palpable. I was touched by their relationships. This book is worth reading for its sentiment and hint of African culture.

Thank you for stopping by to read my review of The Year the Gypsies Came. I hope you will take a moment before you go to rate this lens at the top of the page.

The Year the Gypsies Came Guestbook

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)