The Diddakoi – Rumer Godden

Posted on 16 August 2009. Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , , |

I remember Rumer Godden from my childhood. The one I remember the most is An Episode of Sparrows but I always knew she was a wonderful writer. She wrote a number of fabulous books some of which were co-authored with her sister, Jon Godden. She was born Margaret Rumer Godden and wrote under her pen name of Rumer Godden.

I’ve managed to pick up a few of her books including their autobiographical novel Two Under the Indian Sun. I’ve seen a few copies of The Diddakoi which was televised as Kizzy about a young girl who is half gypsy finding herself an orphan at the age of 7. Only one copy is available on the website as the other two have been totally wrecked by much reading and some enterprising person had stapled the pages together making it very challenging to read the inner edge of many of the pages. I’m not keen on throwing books out but at times it’s necessary such as when they’re mouldy or totally soaked or stapled together along the edge or even when someone has cut out the innards. I’ve seen all four problems and put these books carefully into the recycling.

I read The Diddakoi with much interest as I’m totally fascinated by gypsies and know so little about them. I found myself being very sympathetic towards them. They have customs which are rather alien to the regular housedweller and in the past this meant something to make fun of and be mean about. At the age of 7 Kizzy was sent to school. She had never been there before and didn’t know how to fit in, nor did she want to. One day she was taken to her grandmother’s wagon to be told of her Gran’s death. Poor Kizzy, her whole life turned upside down, Gran’s wagon burnt and her things broken or distributed and she herself was not wanted. She did what so many people have done in the past, she ran away only she ended up in Admiral Twiss’ house being nursed with pneumonia. Anyway, after many trials and tribulations she finds herself with family and friends. During the course of the book we learn many things about gypsies and I found myself re-evaluating some of the things I do.

It’s meant to be a book for children but I would recommend it to people of any age as it’s always good to see how other people live.

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