The relationship between young boy Shuggie and his beautiful alcoholic mother Agnes is the centerpiece of this depressingly well written novel. At times the author throws us into a high melodrama. Agnes gives up “the drink” a bit too many times for my taste. The books reeks of poverty in Scotland and is filled with enough metaphors to make you want to take a break before your head explodes. Yet this love between mother and son is excruciatingly emotional.