Review: Shuggie Bain

My Thoughts

This book brought tears to my eyes. I cried for Shuggie and I cried for Agnes. Trapped in the dysfunction of her alcoholism she allows herself to be taken advantage of and abused by men. Her children – for as much as they love her – seek escape from the neglect, the embarrassment, and the disorder of their lives. As the older children flee young Shuggie is left behind to fend for himself and take care of their mother. He has this enduring hope that he can save her from herself but every time she relapses he feels at fault.

Raymond Depardon, Glasgow 1980

Although he finds a friend in Leeann, Shuggie does not fit in with the normal crowd. He talks posh and carries himself differently than the other boys. As he comes to terms with his sexuality he is bullied and battered.

There were times that I had to put this one aside. Sad for sure and authentic to Glasgow during the Thatcher era, Stuart’s characters call out to you. Excellent debut! Wishing Shuggie Bain and Douglas Stuart the best of luck in its bid for the Man Booker and National Book Awards.

Book Review: His & Hers

This is my third book by Alice Feeney. I absolutely loved Sometimes I lie and couldn’t help but rave about it. Her second novel, I Know Who You Are was a completely different matter. I ended up giving it two stars. EEK! So when this book popped up I was hesitant to buy it. I did not know if it was safe to be excited. Then I saw it on NetGalley’s “Listen Now” shelf and figured I would give it a whirl. For those of you who haven’t already heard – – NetGalley now offers audiobooks!

I have to say that this was the perfect match-up. Alice Feeney has redeemed herself in my eyes and delivered a knock out punch. Richard Armitage and Stephanie Racine gave wonderful narrations of their characters.

The title His & Hers stems from the old adage “There are always three sides to a story – yours, mine and the truth”. So when I first saw that we were being given the story from the perspectives of Detective Jack Harper and his ex wife Anna Andrews who is a reporter, I wasn’t sure if the story was going to delve into a “he said – she said” rendition of what happened to their marriage. But it is a murder mystery and both Jack and Anna have connections to the victims. Both are trying to work the case, but from different angles, and sometimes with opposing motivations. Their past relationship sometimes gets in the way of solving the case as do their many secrets.

Who is telling us the truth? Are either of them guilty?

His & Hers kept me guessing and the third mysterious voice lent to the intrigue. Although it took me a bit to get into the novel, once I was in I was hooked. And let’s just say that twist was delicious. (*Chef’s kiss*)


Check Out Our Narrators

Richard Armitage


Stephanie Racine