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Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

Bog Child (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Siobhan Dowd

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6384315,162 (3.87)55
Title:Bog Child
Authors:Siobhan Dowd
Info:David Fickling Books (2008), Library Binding, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd (2008)



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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
The late Siobhan Dowd was a beautiful writer of stories for young adults and this coming of age story is excellent. It is set in the border region of Northern Ireland in the 1980s, when political prisoners were on hunger strike. Not everyone was on the same side and there was dissension even among family members. The added twist of a body found in the bog where turf was being cut, was oddly out of place. The body was of a young woman who appeared to have been killed 2000 years previously. Presumably Dowd intended the old politics and the new would somehow be viewed as corresponding, equally brutal, but it just seemed like an odd mixture. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Apr 27, 2017 |
Review: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd. 03/09/2017

This book in not a thriller but it is an intriguing mystery with some action and adventure to enhance the story. It was interesting and smooth around the edges. The story was well written and not predictable, in fact I was surprised at the end I never thought it would end the way it did. The creative every day characters with motivations and their sacrifices they settle for the small town everyday family life and the self-discoveries among the past history and the present terrorist attacks. It’s a story told from a youth’s perspective living in the bogs at the time of the Irish “troubles” in the hills of Ireland.

The author focuses on the main character, a teenager, Fergus McCann and how he finds himself lured into events beyond his control. His life becomes compelling when he and his uncle discover a body of a young girl while stealing peat. Of course, they came up with a falsified story of why they were at that place where they reported the finding of a body in the bog; they were bird watching at sunrise…. When the expert archaeologists were called in because the body seemed to be thousands of years old it was a mother and daughter team. Than the politicians got involved in the discovery and start arguing over whose territory it was because she was found on the boundary line between two counties. Plus, Fergus dreams are stating to appear to be realistic of the girls life and events of her being buried there along with falling, what he thought was love with the daughter of the team, Cora.

In the meanwhile Fergus has issues among his family. His older brother, Joe, who was a member of Provisional Irish Republican Army, got caught and sentence to jail then decides to join the hunger strike while incarcerated. The family is traumatized and Fergus does what he can to comfort his mother and tried to convince Joe that the cause was not worth his life. Every morning Fergus would go out running a few miles to unwind and soon he was approached by one of his brother’s acquaintances and blackmailed to smuggled small packages to an area on his route. He knew it was wrong but he was trying to keep his family safe but all he wanted was to leave home and become a doctor.

As I read on more gaps fill in of the different issues that Fergus has to deal with. It’s a story that has to be read to the end for it all to come together. I thought it was a wonderful coming of age story.
  Juan-banjo | Mar 9, 2017 |
Fergus and his uncle discover the preserved body of a child buried in the peat. Soon, he is not only following the excavation but in over his head with The Troubles (early 1980s) in his home in Northern Ireland. His brother Joe is in prison and on hunger strike; he's being blackmailed into delivering mysterious packets back and forth across the border; he's got his studies and tests that will affect his hopes for college; and he's falling for Cora, the daughter of the woman in charge of the archaeology dig. Most surprising is the mystery of the little bog child who begins to invade his dreams.

An interesting look at how The Troubles affected families in Northern Ireland - something I remember hearing about on the news all the time(!) when I was a teenager. I didn't think the story of the bog child meshed very well with Fergus' story, however - it just kind of felt like it was running parallel without really contributing much. It was still a pretty good story, though. ( )
  J.Green | Nov 22, 2016 |
Didn't like it! ( )
  David.TenBroeck | May 8, 2016 |
I was really interested in the Troubles in N. Ireland durning the time this story takes place, and of the age of the main character. I really loved reading this multi-leveled story about a boy who finds a body in the bog while digging sod that runs concurrent to the Troubles and his family's preoccupation with his brother wasting away on hunger strike in Long Kesh prison. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
The last novel of the late Siobhan Dowd and winner of the Cilip Carnegie Medal, Bog Child is a spectacular demonstration that books for younger readers can handle the big themes. It's a historical novel, set in a Northern Irish border town in 1981, and focalised through Fergus, teenage son of a Fenian family. He finds the body of a girl buried in a peat bog – not, as he first thinks, a victim of the Troubles, but an Iron Age girl who might have been murdered, or ceremonially sacrificed.

At night the girl comes to Fergus in his dreams, and gradually unfolds her story to him; by day, he has to contend with his parents' quarrelling, growing tension in his community over the Troubles, his brother dying on hunger strike in prison, A-levels and first love.

The weighty themes are leavened by humour and sympathy for characters on both sides of the divide, and the plot is full of surprises. It doesn't pull its punches, but ultimately the message is of hope, forgiveness and reconciliation. In one sense it's a novel about death – and Dowd must have known how ill she was with cancer when she was writing it – but it is suffused with a love of life.
added by VivienneR | editThe Independent, Brandon Robshaw (Jan 2, 2011)
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The bog lay in the bright, slanting morning light, the dew-drops sparkling like millions of diamonds. A large crowd of the local inhabitants had already gathered... They were tightly grouped in a ring around a dark-coloured human head, with a tuft of short-cropped hair, which stuck up clear of the dark brown peat. Part of the neck and shoulders was also exposed. we were clearly face to face once again with one of the bog people.
P.V. Glob, The Bog People
For my three sisters, Oona, Denise, Enda - my love as ever.
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They'd stolen a march on the day.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385751699, Hardcover)

DIGGING FOR PEAT in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she’s been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him—his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what—a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls.

Bog Child is an astonishing novel exploring the sacrifices made in the name of peace, and the unflinching strength of the human spirit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:25 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In 1981, the height of Ireland's "Troubles," eighteen-year-old Fergus is distracted from his upcoming A-level exams by his imprisoned brother's hunger strike, the stress of being a courier for Sinn Fein, and dreams of a murdered girl whose body he discovered in a bog.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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