Bog Child is about Fergus, a high school senior growing up on the border of Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland in the 1980s. The Troubles, the conflict that rocked Northern Ireland between 1960 and 1998, colors the story: Fergus is being courted by the Provos*, a group that engages in terrorism, and his brother is in jail and participating in a hunger strike that will almost surely kill him. While out cutting peat with his uncle, Fergus discovers the body of a child buried in a bog. Archeologists are called, and research into the child’s origins shapes Fergus’ last summer before college. As his own life descends into chaos, he imagines how the dead girl’s life must have been.
Bog Child is a really cool story about a guy who is trying to live a normal life in the middle of a crisis. The story is well written, and Fergus has an authentic and strong voice throughout. The many elements of the plot come together as Fergus tries to find peace with the decisions he has to make. He struggles with balancing falling in love, getting the grades that will earn him a scholarship that will take him away from The Troubles, and trying to find a way to help his brother and his family.
*Provos: Provisional Irish Republican Army