Friday, July 24, 2009

The Good Good Pig - Sy Montgomery

Summary: “Christopher Hogwood came home on my lap in a shoebox. He was a creature who would prove in many ways to be more human than I am.” --From The Good Good Pig.

A naturalist who spent months at a time living on her own among wild creatures in remote jungles, Sy Montgomery had always felt more comfortable with animals than with people. So she gladly opened her heart to a sick piglet who had been crowded away from nourishing meals by his stronger siblings. Yet Sy had no inkling that this piglet, later named Christopher Hogwood, would not only survive but flourish–and she soon found herself engaged with her small-town community in ways she had never dreamed possible. Unexpectedly, Christopher provided this peripatetic traveler with something she had sought all her life: an anchor (eventually weighing 750 pounds) to family and home. (From back of book)

My Review: When my book club host for July picked a book titled “The Good Good Pig,” well the jokes ran rampant for a few minutes. I mean really, the story of the extraordinary life of a pig? Didn’t we all read this in elementary school? Let me guess, there is a spider, and a rat… It seemed a bit too silly for the likes of us (haughty indignation). “Oh, don’t worry” the host said, “it’s a true story AND was featured on NPR”. With those magic words we all settled down to read the book. (Although the last book I chose based on an NPR recommendation was a big disappointment.)

Within the first three chapters I was ready to adopt a pig and raise it like as my child (though to be honest I changed my mind once the pig topped 400 lbs).

Like many memoirs this book had a predictable rhythm. This one was: educational anecdotes from around the world, involving either pigs, or other animals encountered in the authors extensive travels, then a tie into the life of Chris the Pig, and his family. I enjoyed both the anecdotes and the running narrative because they were interesting and uplifting. There were some aspects of the author’s story that I raised an eyebrow at, mostly in regards to how she claimed to like, and relate to, animals better than humans (which seems like reverse discrimination to me), but overall the story was one of love and respect between family, neighbors and the entire animal kingdom.

Who could object to that?

Some of the members of my book club thought the book was too slow moving to enjoy. But I thought it had a nice relaxing pace with a plot that doesn’t suffer if read in bits and pieces. I’d recommend keeping the book in the car for those random moments of waiting; by the bedside for winding down at night; or, as was my case, to pick up every two hours while feeding an infant. (Although I will warn you, that nursing a baby while reading about the a sow laying on her side feeding her young is a bit…er…close to home.)

My rating: 4 stars

In one sentence: The grown-up version of Charlotte's Web, minus the spider. (Thank heavens!)


Heather said...

Hm mm, sounds interesting, and your review has me requesting in from the library now.

Sweet Em said...

BTW Min. If your blog wasn't private I would have linked the sentence "who could object to that?" to your post about "my favorite thing about animals is meat!" :P

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

I read this book a few months ago. I really enjoyed it. I can't throw garbage/scraps/leftovers down the garbage disposal without thinking, "If I only had a pig!"

Sweet Em said...

Ha Ha - me too! In fact tonight I was at a birthdaya party and clearing off plates, I stopped myself from saying "too bad you don't have a pig" to the host, because I think that might be an odd thing to tell someone!

Heather said...

I did find this to be an enjoyable read. Though I can't say the I found it as humorous as Marley and Me, it did have me chuckling at times. I definitely learned more about pigs than I would have thought possible. Like some of the members of your book club, Em, I too found this book to be rather slow in parts. I agree that it is best read in small doses.


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