Painful and Deep – Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

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A book representing the queer community is always something that I have been looking forward to. The voice of the queer community needs to be heard by the masses. And it is a happy news that more and more writers have come up to represent the community through their literature. Hence when Young Mungo came to me for a review I was excited. Without thinking twice, I took it up. After all, it is pride history month in October. But does the book show justice to the community?

The story of the underprivileged

The plot begins with Mungo’s life with his mother. The poverty and pain that he has been dealing with are palpable and the readers instantly connect with the character. He sets out to Loch Lomond for fishing. For an instant, in the back of my mind, I was left wondering if he is sent to some rehab. Bullying, shaming, helplessness – the further plot exploits every aspect of helplessness of the character that reflects the lives of every underprivileged being. 

The never-ending pain

While waiting for love to knock at the door for Mungo, I, as a reader was disappointed beyond measure as the pain never ended. The lag towards the middle of the plot is a pregnant pause that obstructs the flow of the plot. 
Further, when he realizes his feelings for James, we get to see another version of Mungo but what remains the same is his fear of society.

Being a Man

All through the story, the author calls out the societal standards of being a man. Be it Mungo’s brother Hamish or his mother who sends him out with addicts to make a man out of him, the book screams for trigger warnings and relentlessly lays bare the double standards of society. 

Painful read

The book is far from a cakewalk. At every point, you would be reminded of Mungo’s pain and exploitation that he is subjected to. A trigger warning is imperative at the beginning of the book as there are many disturbing situations. 
If you are looking for an entertaining read you might not be able to finish the book. Especially the raw reality and the slang used would take you off guard. But if you want a book with depth, more like a tough-to-read classic, this is it.
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