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Bog Child

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  2,416 ratings  ·  380 reviews
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 w ...more
ebook, 233 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by David Fickling Books (first published February 7th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Trudi

Ah Jesus. This really is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story. My one piece of advice? If you do the audio thing, then that's how to do this one. Sile Bermingham is the perfect reader, her soft lilt a gorgeous accompaniment not just to the lyrical prose that will make you shudder when it's read aloud, but delivering on the Irish accent transporting you to a very particular time and place.

It should have been the Irish history content of this novel that brought it to my attention (more on that late
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Laura
This is yet another book that made me wish Goodreads allowed 1/2 stars. I ultimately went with 3 instead of 4 because although I enjoyed it, and like some elements of the story very much, the writing is a bit simplistic and the plot is predictable at times.

Still, I'm very glad that I happened across this book in a used bookstore, because for once an impulse buy paid off (I usually have much better luck when I select books on Goodreads than when I go by the blurbs on back covers). It has a powerf
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Lynn
Masterful! Dowd weaves multiple plot lines throughout this compelling story and there is never a moment when the pace falters or the story loses the way. Fergus McCan and his vague Uncle Tally cross the border that divides Ireland to dig peat at a construction site. They discover the body of what appears to be a child and the police of both side's authorities appear on the scene only to learn that the body is ancient. Mel, the young girl, appears at intervals in Fergus' dreams, slowly revealing ...more
Lan
Aug 08, 2011 Lan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
A personal favourite of mine. I found the book in my high school library and was impelled to read it due to the interesting premise. I have a very strong historical calling, and historical fiction is a nice slip between reality and fantasy.

Fergus is a graduating high school student who crosses the border with his Uncle Tally to swipe some peat in the early morning hours and stumbles upon the body of what appears to be a young girl of seven or eight. At his insistence, his uncle goes back to the
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Michelle
Dowd is an author whose work I’ve been planning to read for a while. But being the sort of reader who seeks out stories based on the feeling they’re likely to evoke, the timing never quite seemed right. It was a conversation between work colleagues about the unrest in Ireland in the late 1970s which left me wanting to understand more about the conflict. Suddenly, it was the perfect time to read Bog Child, a stunning and evocative novel which is a late addition to my ‘favourites of 2014’ list.

Fer
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Holly
This is my favorite Siobhan Dowd book and it's a terrible shame that Ms. Dowd lost her fight with cancer before its publication.

The book's main character, Fergus McCann, deals with some weighty subjects - the Troubles, a brother in prison and on a hunger strike, an uncle that's not who Fergus thought he was, exams that will determine his future, falling in love, and a mysterious body, found preserved in the peat moss bog outside of town. Along the way he makes friends with a Welsh soldier statio
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Jeanette
Mixed feelings on this one. I really enjoyed the setting of Ireland during the Troubles and hunger strikes of the early 1980s. A great deal of the story was gripping, tense and interesting. Fergus is a great character that really stayed constant and true throughout the story-which I appreciated. It was a book I had a difficult time putting down.
But...there were a few things that bothered me. Mostly there were some believability issues. For example, (and this may seem a petty problem with the sto
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Angie
1)I think a better understanding of the political turmoil in Ireland's history would have improved appreciation of this one. Sometimes I was just guessing. Most of what I know is just vague memories of news reports when I was a kid. And that Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan movie.

2)Though I did hear a lot about the LONG history of oppression in Ireland when I was there this summer.

2)I totally don't get the relevance of the bog child. This was mainly about Fergus. I mean, I guess he FOUND her while out with
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Brandy
On a study break from preparing for his A-level exams, Fergus accompanies his uncle Tally on a peat-digging trip when they find the body in the bog. Police argue about which side of Ireland's north-south border the body is on and therefore who is responsible for handling this apparent murder case--but then the body is determined to be much older than any open murder case, possibly Iron Age. Fergus gets deeply involved in trying to unravel the mystery of who the girl was (as well as getting deepl ...more
Josephine
This was a superb bit of writing! When I was a teenager there was very little in the way of books aimed specifically at that age group, now there are some fantastic books that cross over the boundary and are great for adults too. Bog child is about a body of a young girl found in a peat bog in Ireland by an eighteen year old boy called Fergus. Fergus is out cutting turf to sell with his uncle Tally when they see the body. The investigation into the identity of the child and how she came to be in ...more
RitaSkeeter
Dnf at 103 pp.

I love YA books, but they - at least the ones I've come across - seem mostly concerned with young people in the US, and are focused on middle class white people. I'm not knocking that, there are important stories to be told, and I love the genre, but there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of diversity. So I was quite excited when I stumbled across this book. It is set in Northern Ireland during the troubles.

A criticism I've seen in some reviews is that this book doesn't explain the
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Karlan
Set during the time when Irish prisoners were starving themselves, the trouble faced by families whose loved ones were involved is portrayed in a moving style. The discovery of a mummified body by a boy whose brother is starving himself leads the boy to mature and take action to help his brother. The characters are well developed and the romance will pull in many readers. A beautiful achievement.
Harshad Lamrood
An year back, I purchased this book from British Library's withdrawn books . Since then it was resting in the shelf waiting to be read. But somehow I never picked it up giving priority to other books. Until last week when I pulled it out to have a glance at it, and to my surprise the book happened to be "unputdownable" and I completed it on a go.
what a novel. How unfortunate was l having such a precious read in my shelf and ignoring it day by day.

rest all about the bog child has been said very
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Kristin
Check this review out and others on my blog: Get Real.

A fascinating story that sheds light on a turbulent time in Irish history, as well as the phenomenon of bog bodies. Fergus McCann's brother Joe is doing time in a Northern Irish prison for collaborating with terrorists during the Troubles - a brutal period in Irish history that culminated in violent deaths on the sides of Republicans and Unionists alike. Joe and the other prisoners in his bloc are undergoing a hunger strike as part of a prote
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Erin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen
A true humanitarian who worked on human rights issues around the world, Siobhan Dowd was also a rising star in the Y/A literature field.

Bog Child, Siobhan's third Y/A book, are two stories in one. Set in Northern Ireland during the early 1980's, Fergus and his uncle have just uncovered a body that buried in the bog where they were harvesting turf. Who is she, how did she die and why is she buried in the bog?

But we also have the story of Fergus's family. Fergus's older brother Joe is in prision a
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Aaron
Set in 1981, this novel brings modern readers back into the center of the discord over Northern Ireland. Eighteen-year-old Fergus McCann lives with his family in the northern counties, which are held by Great Britain. The family is embroiled in the fight for independence against the foreign holders. In fact, his brother is currently in prison and has started a hunger strike, and he is not alone. There are other men in the prison doing the same, and some have even died from it. This leaves Fergus ...more
Kwoomac
The story takes place in the 1980s in the midst of "the troubles" in ireland. 18-year-old Fergus McCan lives in N. Ireland with his parents and two younger sisters. His older brother Joey has been recently imprisoned for working with the provisional IRA. He is serving a ten-year sentence. Bobby Sands, a well-known provisional IRA member, has died in prison after a 66 day hunger strike whose goal was to persuade the British government to award the status of political prisoner(rather than criminal ...more
Christina
Interesting story set in Northern Ireland in 1981, during "the Troubles", when the radical IRA was fighting against the British to get Northern Ireland reunited with the rest of Ireland, and young men like 18 year old Fergus were often recruited to join in their terrorist activities. Fergus' older brother is in jail for doing that sort of thing, and is now on a hunger strike. Fergus, however, just wants to avoid all the politics and ace his exams so he can get into college and away from his smal ...more
Jen
Lit. class review:

Bog Child. Siobhan Dowd. 322 pages. David Fickling Books 2008.

This one from the 2009 top ten list caught my eye because I was in Ireland last summer and my friend and I went to the “bog bodies” exhibit in Dublin. A review I read said Dowd combines a story of a girl from the Iron Age with stories of the Troubles in Northern Ireland “into a successful, even riveting, work of fiction”. I’m intrigued.

p. 109 – The main character of the story is Fergus, who lives in Northern Ireland,
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Diane
The book is set on the border of Northern Ireland during the "Troubles" - about 1980. The main character is Fergus, a boy about to become a man, finishing school, learning to drive, taking family responsibilities,and most important learning to make life altering and ethical decisions. The author is able to show the process and tension of making these decisions.

I am making this book sound dull and it isn't. It is alive and wonderful. The characters and plot are complex and full and real. I could
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kari
Brilliant!
Expertly weaves several compelling plots.
The language used is so carefully crafted, not a word is wasted. More importantly, you'll never forget you're reading a story about Ireland. I could almost hear the soft accent of the narrator without it feeling overdone.
Fergus is a wonderful character, full of hopes and dreams that he doesn't know if he'll be able to make come true. You'll be pulling for him as he takes his exams and sad when he's forced to make a decision to help his brother
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Paul
Bog Child by Siobhan Down was a page turner, although a few of the Irish expressions slowed me down a bit. I knew next to nothing about the politics of Ireland especially in 1981 when this story is set. I got more of a grasp of the ordinariness of people involved in political conflicts by reading this book. I could easily imagine the characters involved. 16 year-old Fergus McCann is an athlete and a student. He finds the body of a girl in a peat bog – she’s met a violent end. Fergus dreams about ...more
Vamsi K
Am so glad I let my instinct to choose this book. It is such a beautiful story! It's about an 18yr old boy Fergus caught between his discovery of a body, his brother in jail, his family, uncle, the war between Ireland and Britain and young love. The story is set in the 80's.
It's one of those books that grows on you even more after you've finished reading. Definitely a story that will stay with you.
Cindy Dobrez
Fans of David Almond's books are going to love this one. Fergus finds a body buried in the peat he is digging in Northern Ireland. It turns out to be from 80 AD, another body preserved in the bog. He begins to dream about the mysterious past of the girl, who apparently was murdered. Woven into this story is the 1980s politics of the Troubles, and the hunger strike by the political prisoners at Long Kesh, including Fergus's older brother. A romance with the archaeologist's daughter and Fergus's i ...more
Rose
This was an awesome read!
The blurb and the cover I found were slightly misleading, as they suggest a supernatural theme. This meant that I wouldn't usually go for this type of book, but it has encouraged me in the future to pay more attention to them, as it was very good!
I'm not going to lie, the first third was slightly slow, but by the time the book hit the half way mark it was a complete 'page-turner'!!! The plot was excellent, and I was crying at the end:(. Dowd is a brilliant author who car
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Den
I wasn't sure what I'd make of this book but I really got into it.
I didn't know much about the hunger strikes etc and the troubles in Ireland but this clarified a lot of things and brought it to the forefront of my mind.
I could see myself in Fergus's difficult position. I did wonder about Unk right from the beginning, so that bit didn't really come as a surprise.
I liked how, despite all the troubles around him, he was still focused on making a better future for himself.
I also like the second s
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Tina Hoggatt
I was mesmerized by the writing and the story of Bog Child. Historical fiction that travels through history, this beautifully written book, taking place in early 1980's during the time of the Troubles shows us the heart of a family, a community and a country living through violent times. At its heart is Fergus McCann, just graduating from school and taking his A levels in hopes of earning a place at University in Aberdeen. The bog child of the title is discovered as the story opens,as Fergus and ...more
Amanda
I agree with the mass of online reviewers that the subject matter is unconventional for teen literature fodder—a Northern Irish teenager, Fergus, has the standard teenage worries of exams and cars, but Dowd also intertwines the harsh political worries of Ireland and the Sinn Fein by involving Fergus’s brother, who is a political prisoner. [return][return]While gathering peat one day with his uncle, Fergus discovers the body of a young girl from the Iron Age (although at first they think the body ...more
Laura
A beautiful and haunting book written by a superb writer, Bog Child masterfully weaves several different story threads into one moving tale. Set on the Irish borders during The Troubles, it tells the story of Fergus, a boy in his last year of high school who discovers an ancient body in the local peat bog. Meanwhile, his older brother is imprisoned in Long Kesh where hunger strikers are starving themselves to death.

Fergus is a complex and realistic character. His life is made up of ordinary tee
...more
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Siobhan Dowd was born to Irish parents and brought up in London. She spent much of her youth visiting the family cottage in Aglish, County Waterford and later the family home in Wicklow Town.
She attended a Catholic grammar school in south London and then gained a degree in Classics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University. After a short stint in publishing, she joined the writer's organization PEN
...more
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“The studying, the books, exams, arguments, theories. The jokes and pints, laughter, kisses and songs. Life was like running, ninety percent sweat and toil, ten per cent joy.” 26 likes
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