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ARC Book Review: Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart.

Title: Young Mungo

Author: Douglas Stuart

Publisher: Picador

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


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March Wrap Up

Well didn’t March fly by! I turned 30 and I read some great books! I really enjoyed the variety of books I read this month! It just felt like a good collection and I never felt bored. I didn’t love them all but we can’t ask for too much?

I managed to read 9 books this month. I think that’s my best this year. I just really enjoyed sitting down and picking up my books! I did have a week off which always helps! Let’s hope it can carry on to next month!

So let’s talk about the books shall we?

First up was Concerning My Daughter by Kim Hye-Jin translated by Jamie Chung. A really great look at what it’s like to age in Korea. It also looked at queerness in Korea and I felt like the book would’ve benefited from a perspective from her daughter to really explore this but it was over all an enjoyable novel. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 4th

Second was Bad Gays: A Homosexual History by Huw Lemmey & Ben Miller. A brilliant non fiction book not focusing on the heroes of queer history but the complicated characters who couldn’t reconcile with their queerness. It was interesting from start to finish, filled with some fascinating people and their lives. Highly recommend if you’re interested in queer history. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out May 31st.

Up next was Limbic by Peter Scapello. Queer poetry which I’d never read before but absolutely adored. It made me cry on the first page. This collection just had so much to say. I really thought it was such a strong collection and I’d love to see a novel from this author. Thanks to the publishers for my copy, it’s out now.

Then I read Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. I bloody loved this book. I loved reading it to find out what was going to happen, how it was all going to come together. I loved how it all weaved together. It’s the kind of book that makes you sit up in bed when it all comes together! That’s what I did anyway! Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April

Fifth this month I read Stone Butch Blues Leslie Feinburg. Ugh, why did I wait so long to read this book? I loved its take on queer culture and trans life. It was the kind of book I couldn’t stop thinking about. My friend gifted this to me and I’m very grateful.

Up next was Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart. Unfortunately this was a miss for me. I just didn’t connect in anyway. It was bad. I just felt like so much trauma happens that didn’t need to. I finished the book and felt bewildered! But I know many people loved this book. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 14th.

Then I read Bolla by Pajtim Statovic translated by David Hackston. This was another one that missed the mark for me. I think it was successful in many ways and I still find myself thinking about it. But the whole novel depends on the relationship at the beginning and it didn’t work for me which made me struggle with the novel throughout. This is a tricky one. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 7th .

Penultimately I read The Return of Faraz Ali by Aamina Ahmad. I enjoyed this more that I thought I would. There was a crime aspect to the novel that I didn’t particularly enjoy, but I never do. But everything else I really enjoyed. It was intriguing and filled with great characters. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 5th.

Lastly I read The Fake Up by Justin Myers. Did I go into this thinking it was queer? Yes. Was it? No. But it was fun, and hard to put down. I liked all the characters and really enjoyed the story. It was probably my favourite Justin Myers book to be honest and his other two have been queer! Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out April 7th.

So that’s it! That’s my reading month. I had a great month! Are you going to read any of these? Let me know!

Until the next review