Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

“His shirt was freshly laundered, a sharp crease ran down the sleeve, and Mungo took that as a sign that some woman cared for him, that he was worth something to someone.” (Douglas Stuart).

This novel sucks you in, rips your heart out, and leaves you sobbing on the floor. Seriously. I haven’t been this emotionally impacted by a novel since A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara…and it took me a summer of reading fluffy books to heal my heart.

Young Mungo is about Mungo, the youngest child of three raised (if you can call it that) by a single mother whose presence is sporadic and, more often than not, fueled by alcohol.
Mungo’s life consists of: spending time with his older sister Jodie who serves as a surrogate mother when she is not working, alone, or reluctantly vandalizing, stealing, and fighting in his brother Hamish’s gang.

Mungo is a gentle soul who seeks out friendship and affection from whomever he can. Sadly he is often abused and taken advantage of because of this. Besides the love of his sister and the mother-like attention he gets from his next-door neighbour, Mungo finds friendship and love in his neighbour James. The fact that James is both male and Catholic makes their affection for each other dangerous.

With this second book, Douglas Stuart has become one of my favourite authors. His gift at storytelling is vivid and visceral. The reader quickly becomes immersed in the life of Mungo Hamilton, and at times we are left breathless with emotion.

Young Mungo will be published April 5 2022

Trigger warning: physical, emotional, and sexual assault.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.

You’ll find my review of Stuart’s first novel Shuggie Bain here

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