Mungo Hamilton is sixteen years old. He lives with his alcoholic mother, Maureen, his gang leader brother, Hamish and his bright, motivated sister, Jodie, in a tenement building in Glasgow. When there is talk that Mungo has gay tendencies, his mother sends him with two men she has just met at an AA meeting for a weekend of fishing and camping. Her convoluted thinking is that this weekend away will make a man of Mungo. Instead it becomes three horror-filled days.
In many ways Young Mungo is similar to Stuart’s debut novel, The Man Booker Prize winner Shuggie Bain. They both have a young, gay main character living in the slums of Glasgow with an alcoholic mother. Both novels are heart breaking, vividly descriptive, achingly uncomfortable with a very sympathetic main character. If you appreciated Shuggie Bain, you will want to read Young Mungo.