Fiction - Drama
408 Pages
Reviewed on 09/01/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Gadjo is a work of fiction in the interpersonal and cultural drama sub-genres and was penned by author Lloyd Ingle. The work is intended for the general reading audience and contains some violent content and sexual references that would not be suitable for younger readers. Our key protagonist is Andrew Jenkins, later Andreas, whom we meet in his childhood when his class is all abuzz about a newcomer – Gunari – who comes from a neighboring Romany camp. So begins a realistic tale of two young boys growing up on the path to manhood, bonded by friendship, but also put through some harrowing trials and traumas as they find their place in the world.

Author Lloyd Ingle has crafted a memorable and touching work of dramatic fiction with plenty of highs and lows to offer its readers. In terms of its presentation of character, I found that the use of close narration created a deeper emotional resonance, and I felt that Andreas’s journey and acceptance by a surrogate family really drive home a warm and positive message about openness and anti-discrimination. The dialogue was also highly effective, serving to display the unique traits of the characters and the true depth of their growing friendship, whilst moving the plot forward in a natural way. Though the work does not shy away from the harsher moments of life, it strikes a beautiful balance that will leave you thinking long and hard about the true meaning of family. Overall, I would highly recommend Gadjo to fans of emotive writing styles who enjoy cross-cultural drama and for realistic fiction fans everywhere.

Romuald Dzemo

Gadjo by Lloyd Ingle is a sweet tale of friendship, love, and adventure. When the information filters through to parents that a new student will be joining the school, it causes a great deal of unease about the effect such a person will have on the welfare of their children, because the new student comes from a gypsy camp nearby. But not Andrew Jenkins, a boy who has been abandoned by his own mother, and whose life is as lonely as it is miserable. Andrew quickly develops a strong friendship with Gunari Bosworth, the boy from a nearby gypsy camp. In this novel, the author tells the story of their friendship, exploring their adventures, highlighting the humorous moments they shared, the tragedy they faced, and love as they grow through their adolescence into their twenties.

What first caught my attention about Gadjo is the beautiful cover, with the lonely boy, a small bag on his back, and facing the road. It is symbolic of his loneliness. Lloyd Ingle writes in crisp prose and the descriptive character of the writing allows the setting to come out clearly, composing scenes that are focused and vivid. The author writes beautiful characters and their reaction to situations, like sex and pregnancy, violence, and humor, feels natural to the reader and reflects their personality. The gypsy culture is intelligently portrayed and readers can understand things like their pride when it comes to standing up against their enemies. My most favorite characters were Andrew, Lulu, and Gunnar; they are well-developed and fleshed out. Gadjo is a compelling story and the reading experience is rendered more enjoyable by the focused chapters, the short sentences and timely paragraph breaks that highlight the drama. Lloyd Ingle is a great storyteller whose gift for character is exemplified in Gadjo.

Pikasho Deka

Gadjo by Lloyd Ingle is a coming-of-age tale that follows the life of a young boy named Andrew Jenkins from his early teens to adulthood. After his mother abandons him to his Aunt Margaret, thirteen-year-old Andrew is left to fend on his own when he learns of his aunt's plans to sell him to a Scottish man with ulterior motives. Andrew flees from home and seeks shelter at a Romany household belonging to his school friend Gunnar. Gunnar's parents quickly embrace Andrew as one of their own and rename him Andreas. As the years pass by, Andreas builds up a reputation as a ferocious boxer in the county and partakes in lots of casual flings. When he comes across a sizeable inheritance, Andreas decides to give back to the people who supported him in his trying times.

A heartwarming tale of friendship, defying the odds, and growing up, Gadjo is an absorbing novel that will be eagerly enjoyed by readers who love a well-written slice of life story. Author Lloyd Ingle's coming of age tale provides a rare glimpse into the Romany culture that feels authentic and seamlessly woven into the plot. I found the characters to be extremely likable and sympathetic, and Andreas and Gunnar's friendship was my favorite aspect of the story. I also enjoyed Andreas and Lulu's relationship and found Andreas's encounters with women, in general, to be thoroughly hilarious. Gadjo is a slow burn that needs to be read and soaked up as such. I had a wonderful time reading it, and I'm positive other readers will feel the same.