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Read With Us: Young Mungo Discussion

Friends, it’s time to talk about Young Mungo! Did you love it? Did you find it difficult? Are you excited to talk about it with your fellow Read With Us-ers? Yes to all of those questions? I’m right there with you.

I’ve already shared my review, so you know that I found it brilliant and felt like it was reading about Shuggie Bain’s next door neighbor. So many of the same themes were present . . . poverty, alcoholism, abuse . . . Stuart does an incredible job of creating rich and human characters in a real life setting with a heartbreaking story. There’s no stereotypes, it’s just raw and real and profound.

My question for all of you is: what did you think of the ending? We see Mungo wave to James and then . . . that’s it. It’s clearly meant to be ambiguous and Stuart doesn’t tell us what happens next. Does Mungo join James and live happily ever after? Is James even really there? What would you write for the ending if you were given the chance?

Please tell me in the comments and remember that you are invited to join us for a Zoom discussion this evening at 7:00pm EST. If you haven’t received a Zoom link and you’d like one, just let me know in the comments. And please check out Bonny and Kym’s posts today as they will also be asking questions about Young Mungo.

I know one thing . . . I can’t wait to read whatever Douglas Stuart writes next.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I really loved this book… so much! And I really loved the ending, I have thought about it often … about the “what if” of it all. I think Stuart was wise in that ambiguous ending… it allows the reader to pick the path they think the story continues on with. I don’t know if “happily ever after” is what happens, but I imagine that James and Mungo spend some time living free of the shackles that their lives had… with the best doocot in all of Scotland!

  2. I found the book to be really upsetting but also extremely well written. And even though it was harder to read than Shuggie Bain, I enjoyed it more and found the ending to be more hopeful. Shuggie always seemed so passive to me, but I got the sense that Mungo has a stronger feeling of agency. I think he’s much more aware of his society’s expectations for him but also has a stronger awareness of what to do to get through this period of life. I certainly felt more hopeful at this ending!

    Looking forward to discussing more tonight!

  3. I really didn’t like the end. I thought I would like it more than Shuggie Bain but I didn’t, I found it harder to get through and some of the characters were just unlikable to me.

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