Wednesday, April 05, 2006

See You Down the Road

Have you heard of the Irish Travelers before? According to Wikipedia, they are a nomadic group of Irish origin. In the United States, the Travelers do exactly what their name implies - go from town to town looking for jobs. There have been news stories about the Travelers who pull cons on the elderly or unsuspecting people. This story gives a different side of the Traveler culture.

For Bridget, this is the only life she has ever known. Her father works hard when he cons people - sometimes tarring driveways or roofs with tar that will wash off with the next rain. Her mother will persuade people to buy a trailer that might fall apart in 6 months. Bridget, who's 16, is working in a clothing shop and going to school. But within a week, the family is on the road again, going to small towns to get money any way they can.

Bridget has a lot of questions about how her family is living. Her parents keep a lot of secrets from her. Her mother won't let Bridget touch her cell phone in case Bridget finds out information about... what? Bridget doesn't know. Travelers custom dictates that Bridget be engaged by 16, and she is engaged to a friend, Patrick. She knows that she loves Patrick already, but she isn't sure that she wants to marry him. She feels sorry for some of the people that they are hurting through their cons, and wonders if she could leave the lifestyle and go to college. But she knows if she leaves this lifestyle, she will be kicked out of her family, and they will never speak her name again.

There aren't any answers in this story, but it is worth a read. Kim Ablon Whitney, who wrote the book, did extensive research before she wrote the novel, including having a Traveler read her book. Bridget is wondering who she is and how she fits into her family - something everyone wonders from time to time. Read it and send a comment to tell me what you think of the book.

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