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Lessons From the Gypsy Camp
by Elizabeth Appell

Category: Fiction / General
298 pages; ISBN: 0-9742652-1-7

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Shirley A. Roe


“Consequences.”10 year old Lolly Candolin knows her Daddy’s threat is not empty. Each reminder of the “consequences” is followed by yet another brutal lesson, mercilessly taught by her overbearing alcoholic father. But, ironically, it is because of one of these cruel actions that Lolly comes upon a colorful tribe of kind-hearted gypsies who enchant her with their love of life despite its hardships, something she sees very little of at home.

Set in California in 1955, “Lessons from the Gypsy Camp” is the story of a young girls induction into the adult world. After one of her gypsy friends is accused of murder, Lolly has to decide what is more important: friendship and justice, or her father’s love. Her inner struggle not only helps her grow and discover herself, she also begins to understand her parents and how they are a product of their own imperfect childhoods.

The lessons from the gypsy camp are well worth learning, and are made all the more entertaining by the intensely vivid and endearing characters that teach them. From the bouncing and vivacious Tick and her adoring, unconventional mother, to the simple giant Bob Bob and his lion-taming mentor Sam, Elizabeth Appell has brought to life truly believable characters, a challenge made all the more so by their innate uniqueness.

And she could not have chosen an more ideal student and teacher that Lolly Candolin, whose sense of justice binds us to her while her stubborn strength, tempered by innocence, carries us safely through to a deeper understanding of the consequences of actions and the cultural assumptions that direct them.

Overall, the book is an easy read with a challenging theme. The writing has a comfortably flow at a good pace. It is the kind of book that makes you want to return to in every spare minute, but friendly enough to put down for a few moments when need be. Reviewer: Nancy Morris,Allbook Reviews



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