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  • Location: Glasgow

Shuggie Bain

Shuggie Bain

Why a Booktrail?

1981:  Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive.

  • ISBN: 978-1529019278
  • Genre: Coming of Age, Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

Agnes Bain has always expected more from life. She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town. As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest.

Shuggie is different. Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother’s sense of snobbish propriety. The miners’ children pick on him and adults condemn him as no’ right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place.

Travel Guide

Welcome (or not) to Glasgow Shuggie Bains style

This is not the kind of Glasgow you would really want to visit. It’s dark, gritty and depressing:

“Rain was the natural state of Glasgow. It kept the grass green and the people pale and bronchial. Its effect on the taxi business was negligible. It was a problem because it was mostly inescapable and the constant dampness was pervasive, so fares might as well sit damp on a bus as damp in an inexpensive taxi. On the other hand, rain meant that the young lassies from the dancing all wanted to take a taxi home so as not to ruin their stiff hair or their sharp shoes. For that, Shug was in favour of the endless rain.”

This is a book set in poverty, in the endless cycle of trying to save someone you love from themselves. You get to experience the spiral downwards that is alcohol addiction and most of this is sadly seen through the eyes of  a child.

Triggers of violence, abuse, rape and alcohol addiction.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Shuggie Bain

Destination/location: Glasgow  Author/guide: Douglas Stuart Departure Time: 1980s

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