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Read With Us: It’s A Wrap for Shuggie Bain

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

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. This is an excellent wrap-up! Thank you for writing it, and for choosing Shuggie Bain. It was a wonderful book and one of my favorites!

  2. It sounds like a good book! I almost always love your favorite choices when I read them…I will add this one to my list.

  3. The discussion makes the book so much better especially with this group! I am excited for the next choice!

  4. I was so glad to be able to discuss this book with everyone and I look forward to the next book!
    Looking back on the books we’ve read I have to say that Leave the World Behind has been on my mind as I prepare for my week at a beach house. I just hope we don’t hear any big noises or see any unusual animal behavior!!!

  5. Thank-you for choosing this book Carole! The discussion great and always enlightening to me (who just doesn’t think too deeply). Crazy that we’ve read 7 books together! Looking forward to Tuesday…

  6. I’m so sorry I had to miss the discussion (another bookclub commitment … geez!). Planning to be all-in for the next book. and thank you for that list – I’d forgotten about a few of them.

  7. I missed the discussion but look forward to seeing what the new book is. I do have that square on my book bingo card but also gave myself the option to use the book picked or a book by an author from a country I never visited. I wasn’t sure when the book would be announced so gave myself another option to fill that square.

  8. I’m so glad I was able to join you all on Zoom. It really was a book that needed to be talked about, and I especially appreciate what you and Kat were able to bring to the discussion from your own experiences.

    Looking forward to the reveal of the next book!

  9. I do have your book club as one of my bingo squares! Thank you for the round-up of Read With Us books. I can stop panic-searching your archives and just work from here. ?

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