Talk about a rollercoaster of emotion while I was reading Siobhan Dowd's newest novel for teens! Bog Child had me both loving it at times and really not understanding it (both plot and dialect of characters) as well as being almost bored from it at times...all mixed into one novel. Yep, it was a doozy of a read for me.
In the bogs of Northern Ireland, we meet Fergus, along with his Uncle Tally who happen to be in the bogs illegally and find the body of what appears to be a child. Fergus makes a mental connection to this child, probably a murdered child, and she comes to him in his dreams, almost haunting him. While trying to deal with this girl in his head, whom he's nicknamed "Mel," Fergus is also hurting over his brother in prison, who has decided to join the hunger strikers and starve himself, as well as the "Troubles" his parents are constantly fighting over, and his growing feelings for the daughter of the woman working on the bog child.
In the midst of all the emotion, Fergus is blackmailed into becoming a courier for unknown packages, which deep down he feels are drugs, carrying them along the troubled border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, with the constant fear of being caught, but having no choice but to continue. Though very aware of right and wrong, Fergus knows that this is just another instance of complete "wrong" that has wormed its way into his life, with no sign of leaving anytime soon.
The Irish dialect is, at times, incredibly difficult to understand and though there is a huge dose of history in Bog Child, it's so blatant....too obvious for my liking. Which led to boredom on some pages. And that stinks! I wanted to love it it....
So how do I put a rating on Bog Child? How do I tell you all whether or not to go out and read it? Did I love it? No. Did I like it? Sometimes. Was it exciting? Sometimes. Do I think teens will read it? No. Do I think adults will enjoy it? Probably.
Dowd writes heavy, intense, books and that's really all there is to it. So if you're willing to wade through the heaviness, not to mention the language and dialects of the Irish she has written about, then I really think you'll enjoy her books. I, unfortunately, don't think I'm that reader. Especially when I'm reading with the hopes that I've found a great book to recommend to my teens at the library...this is not that book. Adults will get the recommending of Bog Child to them, teens, probably not.
It's very difficult for me to just not "get" a novel, when I've read plenty of other blogger's rave reviews, not to mention reviews in School Library Journal and Kirkus....all loving this one. So take my review as you will. I...me...Amanda...didn't enjoy it. That doesn't mean you won't!
If you're interested in learning more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.