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Reviewed by Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite
Growing up in the 1940s in England, homosexuality is a criminal offense. Mungo, having to deal with the fact of an unusual name, grows and struggles with himself as you witness his journey as a choir boy. Meriel Brooke is a skilled writer, delivering the story through the eyes of the age level depicted. Small, cautious descriptions were used when the character was five, and then the explanations and musings grew more complex as Mungo himself grew up and was able to think more clearly about himself and his life. Sugar Pants, like some of the best historical fictions, is about a difficult time or issue in history. It was most certainly difficult for me to read about the types of abuse that were inflicted on Mungo and others in the story. From physical and mental abuse of children to seemingly homophobic violence in later passages, there are a lot of poignant and important issues to consider
While not necessarily a "feel good" book, Sugar Pants is substantial and a "meaty" read that makes you feel you've read something important when you're finished. Some books make you feel like you've wasted time, or just escaped for an afternoon. Sugar Pants makes you feel like you've just experienced something, something you are going to think about long after you've turned the last page. Meriel Brooke presents ideas and concepts in thoughtful and determined ways that make you question rather than accept. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sugar Pants, and am hopeful that I will get to read more from this author in the future.