Book Club: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Shuggie Bain

Henpicked’s book of the month for July 2021…

Shuggie BainThank you so much to everyone who has joined in the discussion about Bad Apple by Zoje Stage.

If you haven’t shared your thoughts yet, please do join in the conversation at the bottom of the article on Disqus. What did you think of it? Would you recommend it to a friend? We know some of us haven’t finished yet but we’d still like to hear from you.

For this month we’ve chosen Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart.

Winner of the Booker Prize 2020.

It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from life. She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town. As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest.

Shuggie is different. Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother’s sense of snobbish propriety. The miners’ children pick on him and adults condemn him as no’ right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place.

Here are the reviews for Shuggie Bain:

‘Douglas Stuart has written a first novel of rare and lasting beauty.” Observer

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“A heartbreaking novel, a book both beautiful and brutal… All that grief and sadness and misery has been turned into something tough, tender and beautifully sad.” The Times

“Leaves us gutted and marvelling: Life may be short, but it takes forever.” New York Times

Want to be a book club champion?

WE NOW HAVE ALL OUR BOOK CHAMPIONS FOR JULY BUT PLEASE JOIN IN THE CHAT – THANK YOU!

We’re looking for 10 book champions so if you would like to volunteer, please let us know. We give each a FREE copy of the book of the month in return for hearing what you think of it.

Just like last month, we’ll let our book club subscribers have some key points about the book to think about throughout the month and in the meantime, enjoy!

Feel free to jump into the discussion about the book at any time during the month using Disqus. This is ready and waiting for you and shows up at the bottom of this page. It’s free to sign up and once you are logged in, you can comment on any of the articles on the Henpicked website.

Other book suggestions

Please let us know if you have any recommendations!

We welcome you all and remember there is no right or wrong with reading – everyone’s opinion counts.

Happy reading!


About Kay Garrett

I’m Henpicked's editor, which means I'm lucky enough to spend my time reading the fabulous articles our authors send in. I'm a massive James Bond fan, an Agatha Christie geek and love films and books in general. Most of my spare time is spent with my husband and our two lively and very lovely daughters.

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