American Gypsy: A Memoir

American Gypsy: A Memoir

by Oksana Marafioti
4.5 8

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American Gypsy 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Logans_Library More than 1 year ago
Forget about the Gypsy "reality show" on televison and read this wonderful book instead. Oxsana Marifioti brings us on a marvelous tour of authentic Romani culture, her immigrant experience, and the natural angst of a teenager who's also new to, and trying to fit into American culture. At times, funny, poignant, sad, and joyous, this book brings us behind the curtain of an "exotic" culture and nationality where we find the same issues, problems, and goals that everyone faces no matter what their ethnic identity. It also provides some fun commonalities like sipping bubbles from a teacup -- my English mother obeyed this same superstition as I do today! From page one to its concluding paragraph, American Gypsy absorbed me, increased my understanding of another race/culture, entertained me with its verve, and pleased me with its authenticity and honesty. A MUST READ!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
clahain1 More than 1 year ago
I started American Gypsy on what was possibly the worse day of my life. My husband was scheduled for  a colonoscopy due to some unsettling symptoms. I sat in the waiting room reading Oksana Marafioti's  book, never expecting to be interrupted in the middle of chapter three by the doctor informing me that M. had a malignant tumor. As may be imagined, it took me a while to return to the book much less review it. Even after the time  lapse, I fell right back into the honest, heartfelt recollections of a young girl struggling to find her way in  a new country. The family arrives in the United States from Russia with high hopes that are quite at odds with the reality of the hard-scrabble life that awaits them. Things get especially tough after the parents divorce. Oksana, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet. But there's an even bigger challenge for Oksana as she attempts to reconcile her heritage (Gypsy culture is as idiosyncratic  as it is rich) with the American life she's working so hard to build via her schooling, music, and after-school job. I enjoyed the inside view we get of traditional Gypsy life as it existed in the Russia of Oksana's youth. It shattered stereotypes that I didn't even realize I held. The author tells her family's stories--even the hard,  unhappy stories--with such humor and compassion. American Gypsy is an engaging and worthwhile  read, and I can't help hoping for a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly exceptional. This is the best memoir I have ever read, and I've read dozens and dozens. Marifioti kept me hooked from page one on-- I even contemplated calling out of work to continue reading (instead I snuck chapters at my desk all day when no one else was looking). She is an extraordinarily talented writer-- her metaphors startle and sing and made me FEEL what she was describing-- but beyond that, more importantly, she understands how to craft descriptions of human emotion, and individuality and character, so that a reader is invested in every single thing the people in the book go through. Especially Oksana herself.  Plus the exorcism scene towards the end can't be beat! Chilling!  I would give this 6 stars if I could. One of the best books I've ever come across. Please write more, Oksana!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I want to know about the years after high school and college and what Oksana is doing now. I care about her! I also enjoyed the beautiful photos, as well as the authors photo at the end...something I dearly miss as I read and enjoy my nook.....i miss the book jackets showing authors photos! Thank you, Oksana, for taking the time to tell us your colorful story !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this memoir quite interesting. Not having much knowledge of gypsy culture it was an illuminating look inside, especially at the family dynamics. The writer's approach is light-hearted, even in situations that would have left me angrier than angry (you get the idea). The step-mother that Marafioti ends up living with is unbelievable and would have pushed me right over the deep end. I give Marafioti a lot of credit for keeping her eye on the prize. Her writing style will pull you right into the story and have you rooting for her the whole way through. This would be a great book for book clubs.
AL_Campbell More than 1 year ago
Remember the moments of angst you experienced as a teenager? Those feelings will return ten-fold as you read this memoir and will not be able to put it down. Young Oksana encounters more obstacles in her childhood, primarily situations instigated by the adults around her, than most Americans experience in a lifetime.
LynRobertson More than 1 year ago
It is no wonder that we are all in agreement on the 5 star rating of this book. It is exceptional. Oksana relates as someone we know, love and wish the best things happen to. This book is hard to put down and pieces of it stay with you like fresh air.