Title: Young Mungo
Author: Douglas Stuart
Length: 400 pages
Synopsis: Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in the hyper-masculine and violently sectarian world of Glasgow’s housing estates. They should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all, and yet they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the doocot that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they begin to fall in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo must work hard to hide his true self from those around him, especially his elder brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. When Mungo’s mother sends him on a fishing trip with two strange men whose drunken banter lie murky pasts, he needs to summon all his strength and courage to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future.
Listen sometimes books hit. Sometimes they miss. And I’ll say right now this book has been a hit for a lot of people and if you love it you shouldn’t listen to me, but unfortunately for me it was a miss.
Now, I’m not saying it was bad. Not at all. For me, it went a tad too far. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen, but it just left me thinking ‘what is going on’? I don’t mean this in a way that I was confused, I mean it as why does the story have to go to place? Is it necessary? There were just some bits of the sort didn’t fit for me. Especially towards the end. The ending left me with a feeling the book wasn’t cohesive.
I also feel like it’s being sold as an epic, moving love story and it totally fell flat for me in that department. It took over half the book for it to happen and when it did I didn’t feel the connection. And so much of the book is based of what happens surrounding the relationship and the relationship is the catalyst that starts Mungos journey and I couldn’t feel that. But like I said, many many people have felt it.
I do think that the look at working class life is done really well, so much of that is portrayed well and totally transports you to Glasgow. The perspective from Mungos sister was very interesting to me and I would’ve liked to have seen more.
Maybe it’s a case of my expectations were too high? I saw that cover (which is one of the best, I’ll take no arguments on that) and wanted it so desperately to good heartbreaking and epic, but the whole thing just left me bewildered.
Again, so many people are excited for this book and absolutely have adored it. I hope you will too. Definitely check out their reviews. It’s out now.
Thanks to the publishers for my copy.
Until the next review