I came across Siobhan Dowd while reading A Monster Calls by Patrik Ness. I learned that the storyline was originally drafted by Siobhan, however before she could complete it, she lost her life to cancer. Since both these authors shared the same publishing house, Ness was approached to continue and give the storyline shape and bring it to life (to which he very humbly agreed).
We had a group discussion on it and some of us expressed our interest in reading some books by Siobhan, and mutually agreed on reading Bog Child as our first.
And I’m uber glad that we did. I think this was my first read based on Irish culture and politics around the 1980s and I was so intrigued.
The story starts with a young boy named Fergus who, along with his uncle, finds a semi-visible dead body. It also revolves around his family and the situation they go through as a result of his elder brother’s decision – which I think is remarkable. I was really in awe of their strength and conviction.
Fergus has a lot to deal with and does it amazingly well. He has his exams to pass, be strong for his family, solve the mystery of the dead body, peculiar errands to run for someone, understand their country’s political situation, and a girl to love and eventually let go of. Siobhan made me fall completely in love with him and his family.
The story remains riveting throughout despite the multiple twists and plots. Siobhan did a great job in giving a platform to each of the characters with their own stories shining through in one way or the other, without taking away the light from Fergus and the main plot.
I was so intrigued to know more about their political situation during the time in question that I went on a researching spree – I read articles and watched some documentaries. I learned a lot of The Troubles, Nothern Ireland and Brits, IRA, Bobby Sands and so much more! I might even purchase A Day In my Life written by Bobby Sands which I suppose was during his imprisonment.
Not only this, Siobhan made me rekindle with John Lennon’s music and story. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you read The Bog Child, which I strongly recommend!
And when you do, I’d love to know what you think about it, so please let me know 🙂