Shuggie Bain

Shuggie Bain

Book - 2020
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Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light but a burden for him and his siblings. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a philandering taxi-driver husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good--her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamourous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion's share of each week's benefits--all the family has to live on--on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes's older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to care for her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. Shuggie is meanwhile struggling to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that he is "no right," a boy with a secret that all but him can see. Agnes is supportive of her son, but her addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her--even her beloved Shuggie.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, 2020
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780802148049
Branch Call Number: STU
Characteristics: 430 pages ; 24 cm


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Nov 19, 2020

This won the prestigious Booker Award today! CONGRATS!

Aug 05, 2020

Stuart, a true storyteller, shares the life of a struggling Glasgow family ripe with struggles of alcoholism, poverty, and identity. Its told through the eyes of an innocent child torn between what is true and loyalty to family, It's deep, sad, and endearing. The story wraps around you and carries you to the end.

Mar 08, 2020

Agnes Bain may be the most memorable drunk in literature. Living in Glasgow Scotland during the 1980’s, she leaves her first husband who seems to be a solid, respectable person with whom she had two children. She leaves him for a philandering taxi driver whose activities aren’t that much different than hers. With Shug Bain she has a third child, Shuggie. Shug moves the family from his mother-in-law’s apartment to god-forsaken council housing in an area where Maggie Thatcher has been closing the coal mines. Shug leaves Agnes and the three kids there and returns to Glasgow where he shacks up with his mistress. You really can’t blame him, Agnes is soused most of the time. The two older kids are nearly adult and manage to make their way forward, but poor little Shuggie, is stuck with his mom, the mean kids in the council housing who instantly pick up on his feminine ways and pick on him continually. Worth reading, this is one of the saddest books I’ve read in a long time. Glasgow has lost its appeal after reading about their slums. This is not a book that makes you want to visit. If you want a cheerful middle-class book about Scotland read something by Alexander McCall Smith, although it seems like the residents around 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh aren’t that impressed by Glasgow either.

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