historical fiction,  literary fiction,  physical book,  Scotland

REVIEW: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Title: Shuggie Bain
Author: Douglas Stuart
Type: Fiction
Published: 2020.
Pages: 430
Publisher: Grove Press

“Flames are not just the end, they are also the beginning. For everything that you have destroyed can be rebuilt. From your own ashes you can grow again.”

It seems to be proving that any kind of book reward winners dont sit well with me. This book was a struggle. If there wasn’t my lovely buddy readers group, I think I would never finish it. They kept me motivated to go through even though I was always behind, and ofc that now I am the last one to write the review.

Anyhow. I could talk to you about the beauty of the prose and discuss the effect of country’s politics on Scotland in 80’s to people’s lives. I could talk to you about the masterful characterisation and honesty, about the amazing ways that Stuart has portrayed alcoholism, family issues and the thin line of love that ties a kid to a parent, making him need to be a grown up and still be a child.

But I wont. Many people have gone through detailed analysis of this book and there is a certainly a lot to discuss about it. I will tell you about me struggling with Scottish dialect in dialogues. I will tell you how this book is raw and a window to a hell called addiction. And I will tell you how I mind the way that people were portrayed so black and white except Shuggie who was a ray of sunshine. I was raised in 80s and I had not much more than Shuggie did in the book. But people around me were honest people trying to work for the living and spent the rest of their days caring about their families. Douglas portrayed poverty as a perfect soil for substance abuse and wasting days, with women being superficial and lost without men, which he shown as mostly selfish pricks doing whatever in the world they wanted – coming and going, staying, leaving and having wives and kids all around the town. Sorry, but even I do know there are some people like that, I still want to leave my pinkie glasses on and see the world as a more nicer place. And it makes me angry to see how poverty and lack of possibilities author equalizes with bad personal traits. I know poor people with more heart, pride and values than many of the richest ones. My family used to be one of them.

My GR rating: 3.5 stars

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