Chosen by lovely blogger, Shannon @ raspberrykiss-raspberrykiss.blogspot.co.uk :)
What Shannon says about the book: 'Now I won't lie, I'm a massive fan of anything that has to do with Gypsies and Travellers. It's kind of my guilty pleasure. I find learning about the traveller culture truly fascinating as it's not something that's exactly brought up in a causal everyday conversation. I won't lie, I LOVED Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and the most recent programme, Thelma's Gypsy Girls. So when I received this book for my birthday I was chuffed. I've come to the conclusion that if something has the word Gypsy or Traveller on it, I'm near enough sold. I could listen to my traveller friends talk about their ways of life all day and night, yet still be eager to hear more, so instead of bugging them to tell me stories, I thought I'd give this book ago. If like me, you're borderline obsessed, I think you'll really enjoy this book. The book it's self is about Thelma Madine, the Gypsy Dressmaker and her struggles in life, how she began working with travellers, made it big and what not, which is lovely to read how she worked her socks off and overcome so many hurdles that life threw at her but she also shares her stories about travellers, I think it's fab to see from a none travellers point of view. When reading the book, I felt proud of Thelma despite not even having spoke to her during my 18 years of life. I also felt like I could really relate to her. It just shows with hard work and determination you can achieve a heck of a lot. Personally, I loved this book just as much as I loved the television series. Once I started the first chapter I found it near enough impossible to put it down. It was very easy to read and one of the best gifts I've ever received. Thumbs up from me!'
Amazon blurb: 'Tales of the Gypsy Dressmaker is the much-anticipated memoir from Thelma Madine, the dressmaker and breakaway star from Big Fat Gypsy Weddings [...]. From 200ft trains to 20 stone skirts, hundreds of LED lights to thousands of Swarovski crystals, gypsy girls spend their childhoods dreaming of fairytale dresses. Thelma is the woman who makes these dreams come true. Left with nothing, after a messy divorce, Thelma has come a long way from her humble dressmaking beginnings, making and selling dresses on a market stall in Liverpool. Back then she knew nothing of gypsies. Until one day she was asked by a traveller to make some dresses like the ones in Gone with the Wind and before she knew it had dozens of other traveller women gathering around asking for similar ones. A few years later she was asked to make a wedding dress for a young traveller… then she was hit with the request for a 107ft train and 18 elaborate bridesmaid dresses. And she hasn’t looked back since.
It hasn’t been an easy journey though and behind her warmth, compassion and nature, Thelma is hiding a life of struggles and personal heartache: a journey that includes financial breakdown, a four-month stint in prison and a very unhappy relationship.'
I absolutely loved Big Fat Gypsy Weddings when it was on tv, as Shannon says, it's an addictive guilty pleasure. I thought her review was really interesting as, so far, all the books that are on the 'one book you must read' list have been fiction & it's nice to also include (auto)biographies & non-fiction.
Have you read this book or seen either of the traveller tv series that Thelma's been a part of? What did you think? Let me know your 'must read' book in the comments below or via twitter, and thank you very much to Shannon for letting me use her suggestion :)
Buy from Amazon.