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Review: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

in a sentence or so: Fergus is surrounded by uncertainty. uncertainty about what will happen to his brother Joe in prison. uncertainty about the new girl who has drifted into his life. uncertainty about the body he found in the bog. yeah, Fergus has a lot of uncertainty to figure out.

Fergus is your typical 1980's 18 year old Irish kid. he's trying to get his driving permit, trying to figure out what girls are all about, and he's trying to stay neutral in an anything-but-neutral Ireland. what really turns his world on it's head is the body he finds in the bog. initially thought to be a missing child, Fergus soon learns that a researcher is coming to decide just how old this body is. see, the thing about bogs is they are a natural preserver. nature's little ziploc bag, as it were. so this body could be from a year ago...or 2000 years ago. all Fergus knows is he's the one who found her, and he's the one who wants to help her true story unfold.

when not pondering the mystery of the bog child, Fergus is helping his Mam and Da with their bed and breakfast. sure, his two little sisters help out here and there, but the house has never been the same since Joe went to jail. while jail time is the price that many young men are paying to fight for a free Ireland, Fergus has plans to get out of there and get into medical school. he's on the right track too...before all these distractions crop up.

Fergus feels a connection to the bog child. he senses their stories are somehow connected, that the bog child is reaching out to him, and he is determined to listen to her. you know, when he's not worried about his brother going on a hunger strike in jail, about his own role in bombs going off and killing innocent women and children, or about if Cora - the researcher's daughter - is as crazy about him as he is about her.

let me say, i adored A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd. this was definitely along the same vein of plain presentation that i found totally endearing and patient. there's nothing special about Fergus, other than he's trying to do the right thing. sure he's smart, but he's not a genius. yes he makes his family proud, but he can't figure out a way to get his brother off the stupid hunger strike. his mediocrity is what draws the reader to him and hopes for him and genuinely invests in him.

there are layers upon layers in this read. and rightfully so.  this is a coming-of-age story of a guy who's brother is in jail, country is at civil war, and THEN he finds a dead body and THEN he has romantic entanglements. you might think with all that going on the plot gets a little sloppy. not. at. all. Dowd crafts a patient tale that gives each element it's due while weaving all the pieces together into a creative and absorbing story.

fave quote: "He dragged his knuckles along the peeling paint. There was all his life till this moment and that was the past. There was all his life after this moment and that was the future." (126 | 226 Nook)

fix er up: i had a tough time getting into this. partially because i expected it to be more straightforward, like ASPC, and partially because i wasn't in the mood for this style of writing. i'm glad i stuck it out though. SO worth it.

title: Bog Child
author: Siobhan Dowd
genre: Historical Fiction, Coming-of-Age

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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