Bonny and Kym and I had a big time last Tuesday when we hosted our Zoom Meet Up to discuss Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. I think it’s safe to say, at this point, that the things we post on our blogs and the comments you leave there are great, but it’s the virtual discussion time that is truly engaging.
There is so much to cover when talking about Shuggie Bain and Kym got us off to a great start by asking each of us to name which character we found most sympathic, aside from Shuggie and his mom, Agens. The question served as a great ice-breaker and it also illuminated how our different backgrounds and experiences influenced our choices. I’ll just say that several people sympathized greatly with Leek while I . . . did not.
From there we went on to talk about Agnes and her alcoholism. Our frustration with Big Shug and Eugene. Our incredible heartbreak for Shuggie. The complexities of Glasgow in the 1980s. Douglas Stuart’s own life and the influence that had on the writing of this book. And so much more. We considered the themes of love, abandonment, poverty, and hope. We discussed the beautiful literary quality of Stuart’s writing. And we all pretty much concluded that although it was a difficult book to read because of the heartbreaking subject matter, it was ultimately a story of love and hope. We basically gave Shuggie a bright future that Stuart just hadn’t gotten around to writing himself.
I think it’s been mentioned that this book was my choice and I just want to take a moment and thank everyone who read it with us. I related in a very personal way to some of the things Shuggie went through and I appreciate the opportunity to share some of that with all of you in what I know is a safe and supportive space.
Stay tuned for the announcement of our summer choice next Tuesday!
In the meantime, and I’m particularly thinking of anyone with a Bingo square for the Read With Us book choices, here’s what we’ve read so far in our awesome bloggy book group:
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Fever by Mary Beth Keane
I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur
The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart