Shuggie Bain, a debut novel by Douglas Stuart, is a story that will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading.
We follow Shuggie from age five to sixteen as he deals with complex feelings about his mother, an alcoholic who spends her days drinking lager and vodka, and as he deals with homophobia and with his inability to fit in as a boy in 1980s Scotland. The story is about Shuggie, but it is also about Agnes, his mother, and her struggles with alcoholism, poverty, and relationships during a bleak and difficult era for the working class.
While the story is bleak and gritty, the writing is beautiful and the characters are well-developed and compelling. You will find yourself engrossed in Shuggie’s world, hoping for Agnes to finally succeed in getting sober, and hoping for Shuggie to be able to escape his life of poverty and fear.