Shuggie Bain

by Douglas Stuart | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0802148506 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingMmeClintonwing of South Berwick, Maine USA on 10/1/2022
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Journal Entry 1 by wingMmeClintonwing from South Berwick, Maine USA on Saturday, October 1, 2022
Review: Shuggie Bain (Douglas Stuart) Another book I acquired the last time I visited my daughter in NYC and went to Barnes and Noble. It won the 2020 Booker Prize; good choice! Here is a thoroughly dispiriting tale, but an amazingly wrought portrait of (mostly) a young boy in poverty in 1980's Glasgow, Scotland, and his alcoholic mother. It sat quite uncomfortably with me even as it was so heartbreakingly detailed and come-to-life. Although the book both opens and closes with Shuggie as a 16 year-old now on his own in life, I think the book is actually more focused on the miserable life of his mother Agnes and her short-lived efforts to become sober. Drawn into her picture, of course, is all of the poverty-stricken population of the housing schemes in and around Glasgow, families torn apart by unemployment and the physical escapes of smoking and drinking. There are good figures, too, but few and far between, and much cruelty (the bullying of children towards each other, with Shuggie a target due to his effeminate nature, the shame-inflicting caustic comments of other adults not particularly more admirable than Agnes, the abandonment of women, the hunger...). Agnes was the only child of a stable post-war couple (with their own secrets), married a "boring" Catholic and had two kids with him before running off with a more exciting partner (Shuggie's philandering father, who later dumps her and the three kids). There are just spirals of misery, and hope is elusive, even though Shuggie remains the tender caretaker of his abusive mother to the end. Although this wasn't the uplifting book I should have chosen for this particular moment in my life (waiting for surgery in two months, so dealing with my own demons), I recognize what a well-written book this is and am glad I picked it up. There is that truth that reading about how lucky one is in comparison to so many in the world can be humbling and revealing and set you to wondering how to mitigate the misery of others without entering into it oneself.

Journal Entry 2 by wingMmeClintonwing at When Pigs Fly Company Store And Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine USA on Saturday, October 1, 2022

Released 2 mos ago (10/1/2022 UTC) at When Pigs Fly Company Store And Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine USA

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on the bench near the entrances

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