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The Outside Boy: A Novel Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A beautifully written story filled with drama, humor and an element of mystery and surprise. Some of the scenes so skillfully described are so gorgeous that I reread them as if a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gail L. Gordon
A heartfelt story. Very enjoyable. I look forward to reading more her writings in the future. Please inform me of other books by this author.Published 9 months ago by mumnpapa
Cummins plops you down in 1950’s Ireland, where Christy tells his own coming-of-age story. It begins with the death of his grandfather, and the slow spilling of long-held family... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jan Kellis
The book club ladies thought it was great but my wife, who is not a teacher in her prior life as all the other ladies were, thought it was mediocre. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Richard Amberg
Christy Hurley is an 11-year-old Irish Pavee, or Traveller. He lives with his father and his extended family, criss-crossing Ireland in their wagons, until the time comes for them... Read morePublished 23 months ago by J. Houston