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The Outside Boy: A Novel by [Cummins, Jeanine]
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The Outside Boy: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Length: 385 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Christy, nearly 12, is an Irish Traveller, a Pavee, a child of motion who, with his family, journeys restlessly from town to town, never staying in any place long enough to call it home. But when his beloved Grandda dies, family secrets begin to spill out, and things begin to change, perhaps irrevocably. Set in Ireland in 1959, Cummins' first novel (she's also the author of the memoir A Rip in Heaven, 2004) is a deeply moving and elegiac look at a vanishing culture. Told in Christy's vernacular but often poetic first-person voice, The Outside Boy is gorgeously written and an implicit celebration of Irish storytelling. And it offers a convincing and evocative look at a way of life little known or understood by the many foreign to it. Though Cummins' treatment of the Pavee may sometimes seem idealized, she is quick to acknowledge their occasional petty thefts and tradition of mooching. Her overriding, beautifully realized theme is larger than that, however: it is the universal desire to find a place where one belongs and people—whether one's own family or as-yet-unknown others—whose presence provides essential comfort, contentment, and completion. --Michael Cart

About the Author

Jeanine Cummins is the author of the bestselling memoir A Rip in Heaven, which People magazine called: “…a straightforward, expertly paced narrative that reads like a novel.” She lives in New York City

Product Details

  • File Size: 892 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: NAL (May 31, 2010)
  • Publication Date: June 1, 2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003NX7ODC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,794 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By delicateflower152 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In "The Outside Boy," Jeanine Cummins has created a poignant, coming-of-age tale which captures the reader and never lets go. The quest for one's identity, the desire for answers, and the need to belong are beautifully addressed in this fine novel. Cummins employs those themes to build the story to its climax and wraps the tale neatly into its satisfying conclusion.

Christy Hurley is an outside boy; he lives outdoors, his traveller family is outside society's mainstream, and Christy feels himself to be an outsider even in his own life. Told his mother died shortly after his birth, Christy discovers a mysterious newspaper picture floating through the air when his cousin sets fire to the wagon holding his deceased grandfather's body. He sets out to learn the identity of the woman in the picture. With the help of quirky Mrs. Hanley who owns the bookstore, Christy ultimately uncovers the truth about his parentage. In doing so, he comes to accept himself and his life and, eventually, to forgive those who have protected him through the years.

Jeanine Cummins has produced an outstanding book that almost anyone can enjoy. The characters have strong personalities; each has unique qualities that strengthens their role in the narrative and adds depth to the novel. Emotions are real and will touch the reader deeply. In one of the most memorable scenes of the book, Christy leaves a medallion on his half-brother's pillow. That medallion is one his father gave to Christy's mother and that Christy has worn, all his life, in her memory. In doing so, Christy recognizes and accepts he is a Parvee, a gypsy, a traveller; the life he dreamed of is not what he thought it would be and is not his life.
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Format: Paperback
Jeanine Cummins has written a beautiful coming of age story about a motherless gypsy boy, who struggles to discover who he is in a rapidly changing world--1950's Ireland.

This story is told in the unique and intuitive voice of a 12-year old Irish Pavee boy, "Christy"--short for Christopher. They call themselves "Travellers." Unkind town folks, or "Buffers" call them "Tinkers"--you would know them as "Gypsies." At this point you're probably starting to hum as Cher's rendition of Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves begins to swell in the background... However, Cummins' s sympathetic treatment of these members of society's fringe, may cause you to want to join their merry band--painted wagons, campfire songs, and all... Christy provides an excellent point of view for us to learn about his Pavee culture, and the react these outsiders get from the townspeople--both the inclusive and the cruel.

Although Christy is the primary character, we come to care about many of the other supporting cast-members that make his world go round. In fact, two family members that take up a lot of energy in his mind and space in his heart, are deceased--a term our young narrator notes is "a nicer word than dead'." His "Mam", who died during childbirth, and thus causes him to carry around huge tinker-buckets full of guilt, and his "Grandda" whose passing provides the drama for the prologue, setting the stage for how Christy's life will drastically change. Christy's Dad, Christopher, his cousin, Martin, his Aunt and Uncle, their other children and "Granny" make up the small family of Travellers that take us on Christy's journey of self-identity.

Although The Outside Boy is a character-driven book, their development is strong enough to move the plot forward in a well-paced story.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a beautiful novel of wood smoke and holy water, fist fights, prayers, and the quiet clop of horse's hooves on country roads. It begins with a grief-stricken grandmother on her hands and knees howling in the night, an event that perfectly encapsulates the shrinking world of the Irish Travellers in the late fifties; exposed and financially desperate, never far from death but full of faith, freedom and the comfort of families.

The Outside Boy is Christy, a boy on the cusp of adolescence. Christy and his cousin swear and steal and beg and swindle, and rarely bother to hide their distaste for the "duffers" who live in houses. But their family must settle briefly so the boys can attend school and make their first Communions. Interwoven with their misadventures in school is the story of Christy's search for information about his mother, who died seven minutes after giving birth. Twists, turns, surprises, suspense, it's all in here, along with a father trying to carefully instruct a son in who he is and how to remain true to it in a changing world.

There are kind, decent and loathsome people in this book. There is also an honest portrayal of the Travellers at their best and worst. At times the author has allowed overly poetic language to come spilling out of Christy's mouth. But the the language is so beautiful, and the tale being told is such a good one, that it only takes the reader out of the story for a moment.

I absolutely fell in love with the characters, the wagons, the animals, the landscape and the language. I was desperate to know how it all came out, but so very sorry to see it end. This is just a great story.
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