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A Day No Pigs Would Die (A Day No Pigs Would Die #1)

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  7,878 Ratings  ·  728 Reviews
Out of a rare American tradition, sweet as hay, grounded in the gentle austerities of the Book of Shaker, and in the Universal countryman's acceptance of birth, death, and the hard work of wresting a life from the land comes this haunting novel of a Vermont farm boyhood.

In the daily round of his thirteenth year, as the seasons turn and the farm is tended, the boy -- whose
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published December 12th 1972 by Knopf (first published 1972)
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Marleny Beautiful coming-of-age story that I highly recommend. There is one description of putting a maiden sow to the boar in hopes of a pregnancy resulting…moreBeautiful coming-of-age story that I highly recommend. There is one description of putting a maiden sow to the boar in hopes of a pregnancy resulting from the union and it's pretty graphic as is a scene of slaughtering a pig. The story takes place on a farm and the author shares with the reader life and death so just be sure your child can handle it. Personally, I think it's fine for the 12+ year-old.(less)

Community Reviews

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Feb 09, 2014 Alayna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has stayed with me for over 20 years and read it again tonight and cried just as hard as I did when I read it for the first time as a child. It's a horribly sad, yet beautiful story. As an adult, I found the relationships more touching than I did when I read it as a child. The heartbreak was felt, though in different ways. I don't know how old I want my children to be when they read this book, but they will read it one day.
Jun 21, 2017 Stacy rated it really liked it
A Day No Pigs Would Die is a book about a Shaker boy, Robert Peck, growing up in Vermont in a poor family. He skips school, and while playing hookie, comes upon a neighbor's cow in the woods who is struggling to give birth. Robert helps the calf be born, but also discovers that the cow is struggling to breathe because of something in its throat, which he manages to remove (turns out to be a goiter), saving its life. Out of gratitude, the neighbor gives Robert a baby pig, that Robert comes dearly ...more
Veronika  Sprague
May 04, 2011 Veronika Sprague rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults
Shelves: favorite-reads
Many readers don't like A Day No Pigs Would Die because of its religious connotations and its "sexism." Personally, I loved it because it depicts real life in all its glory...and its gruesomeness.

Robert is a young boy who learns the reality of life's hardships - the necessity of doing the hard things, the joys of the little things, the truth about making decisions and becoming a man. Though I'm female, I could sympathize with Robert's maturing into an adult and coming face to face with the trut
Jul 09, 2007 HeavyReader rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I didn't read this book as a young adult, but I recently read it as an old adult. This is one sad story.

It could also go on the "I had to face the death of my beloved pet" shelf with Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows . At least the kids who loved those dogs didn't have to eat them.
Aug 21, 2010 Linda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I came across this book after doing some research (for my current novel) on junior high required reading lists, and thought I'd try it. I finished it last night, and found myself horrified that junior high students might actually be required to struggle through it. Billed as a sweet little farm tale, or a coming-of-age story of a Vermont Shaker boy, there were elements that absolutely appalled me. First let me say that I am a farm woman, used to the gritty details of farm life, and in fact, I us ...more
Dora Okeyo
Mar 05, 2012 Dora Okeyo rated it it was amazing
"A Farmer's heart is rabbit soft,
and a farmer's eyes are blue.
But a farmer's eyes are eagle fierce
and look a man right through."

That's what caught my attention. It has a powerful beginning and it sums up what the book is all about. I loved reading this book, because everything is told from the perspective of a child-who turns thirteen after his Father's death. Their neighbor, Mr. Tanner tells him at thirteen is when a boy becomes a man, and he yearns for his Father love and guidance, but all he
Nov 20, 2009 Joy rated it it was amazing
This was a sweet coming-of-age story about a Shaker boy in Vermont and "his acceptance of faith, death, and the hard work of wresting a life from the land." In the course of a year, the 13-year-old takes on
the role of the man in his family. There were some down-home phrases
like: "Let's all put on the feed bag." "He'll stand without hitching" (super compliment). Also lots of wisdom: "Never miss a chance to keep your mouth shut." "Why tell people what they don't want to hear?" "A man's worship cou
Sep 05, 2011 Joanne rated it it was amazing
I am amazed at many of the negative opinions regarding this book. It is very well written, the author balances humor with realism and emotional content. Although there are some disturbing scenes, they are not fictional violence, but a part of the life of the time and place. My book club read this as adults and many of them were more upset at the scenes than the students who read the book. Sometimes as adults we seem to read more into things than children do. Weasling the dogs was very hard for m ...more
Dec 20, 2007 Jennie rated it it was ok
Although overall I enjoyed the book, I felt it would be somewhat challenging for younger readers. Pinky’s rape scene is quite brutal, and although there is some truth to the grotesquerie of animal husbandry- I found it a bit gruesome. Also there is quite a bit of sexism, which I found unpleasant, especially in the assumption that Pinky will be better now that she has been raped. Also the Shaker values are historically inaccurate in many ways rendering the text useless to a history class.
Jun 07, 2007 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, read-for-school
Boy, nothing like starting out a kids book with ripping a goiter out of cow's neck. My reading teacher read this aloud in class. More like A Day No Kids Would Eat. Normally I really enjoy horrifically downbeat "young adult" books from this era, but this book and I never really hit it off. Give me good ol' Robert Cormier or M.E. Kerr anyday.

“Reading this book is like sipping hot cider in front of a crackling potbellied stove. Every page is suffused with wit and charm and glowing with warmth.”–Newsweek

“A lovely book. . . . Honest, moving, homely in the warm and simple sense of the word. . . . It is small, accepting and loving and it succeeds perfectly.”–Boston Globe

“You’ll find yourself caught up in the novel’s emotion from the very opening scene. . . . Love suffuses every page.”–*The New York Times

"With plenty of Yankee com

Reader Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2010 Reader Extraordinaire rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was very young. This book, Charlotte's Web and Summer of My German Soldier were the first three books I ever read cover to cover. This was the absolute first. I never believed that I could read a book all the way to the end until I read this book. To me, when I was in 4th grade, a book was an intimidating thing. I also did not believe in my own abilities. This book changed my way of thinking towards books. I discovered that reading was fun and entertaining and that books ...more
Eric Oppen
Oct 08, 2015 Eric Oppen rated it did not like it
This was the only book I ever rebelled against. In ninth grade, we were given it to read, and after a few pages, I closed it and said I'd read no more. This was unprecedented behavior for me, since I was normally quite docile vis-a-vis my teachers; open rebellion was unheard of.

My teacher knew me well, and asked me why I had said I wouldn't read it. After class, I took him to the library, hauled down the "S" volume of the encyclopedia, and opened it to the article about the Shakers.

Unlike the "
Apr 10, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-alouds
I read this novel when I was in my early teens solely because it was banned from the school library. Nothing made me want to read a book more than when it was banned, so I immediately borrowed a copy from the public library.

I remember that I loved the story, but I could not recall all that much about it. I decided to read it aloud to my son and I am so glad I did. It is now one of his favorite books.

I am a bit perplexed why it was ever banned, as well as why some readers denounce the book becau
Oct 10, 2008 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I wasn't sure if I should put this on my "memoirs" shelf as well, as Robert Peck uses his own name, along with those of his father, mother, etc... However, it's catagorized as "historical fiction." Any thoughts on this anyone?

I haven't read this book since high school and junior high school, but thought I would pick it up again because, well because it's been so long.

I found the dialogue in chapter three very similar to Robert Frost 's poem The Mending Wall Yes, good fences make good neighbors
Sumit Singla
A great coming of age story about young Rob Peck, a 12-year old kid. I can imagine why people are criticizing this book - some disturbing scenes involving animal slaughter, 'rape' and what may be perceived as sexism.

However, the story is poignant and moving, and seems to convey the realities of a boy on the verge of becoming a man. Due to sheer chance, Rob gets to own Pinky, a cute little pig who becomes his best friend ever. From then on, life changes and culminates in Rob's coming of age.

Taylor Guffey
Dec 14, 2016 Taylor Guffey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kenny-s-class
This was one of my fifth grade teacher's favorite books, and I can see why. I was more interested in this book when I found out that the whole story is true--sort of an autobiographical account or memoir. I wouldn't recommend this to just anyone because it has a lot of farm terminology, but marrying into a farming family made this book hilarious to me. I can definitely see how it would be a great read for the reluctant readers in rural areas.
Sep 29, 2016 Jaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a realistic depiction of coming of age on a Shaker farm in Vermont. Peck described all the ins and outs of farm life, and some of it was pretty hard for me to take at times. I'll admit to bawling my eyes out at the ending. This book was very well-written, but I'd have liked one more chapter. We got to see Robert become a man in the eyes of his neighbors. I'd have liked to see his new journey start.
Read this in junior high school, and liked it, that's about all I remember, except for it has one of the most disgusting introductions to a story ever. Almost put me off reading the rest of it. But interesting story about a farm boy in a different time, in a not TOO distant past.
Sep 02, 2013 Jessie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brianna Preston
Apr 03, 2017 Brianna Preston rated it really liked it
This book opened with a scene that made me truly laugh out loud. I loved the colloquial language of the 12 year old narrator throughout the book. Despite his plain upbringing and meager education, he also had an inborn sense of poet in him, and it came through when he would describe the way a certain sunset made him feel.

This book broke my heart. Goshdarnit, I don't usually like to have my heart broken. Who does? But this book broke it for all the right reasons. There was so much love in this b
Rachel Ramirez
This is one of my favorite mandatory school reads I read in middle school. The story was engaging with Northeastern life and Quaker beliefs that I found fascinating since it is vastly different from my life. Funny enough this book was how I found out about the Quaker Oats Man being of the Quaker in this book. I think everyone should read this book at least once in their life since it shows how wonderful a the family dynamic was and how deep a love for pets can go. It is also very funny to read. ...more
Rachel Ramirez
Lincoln Hoppe might be the best narrator that I have ever listened to! He brings a great sense of humor and feeling to this story, which I already loved from reading during my middle school days. Some people don't get the sense of humor from reading this book but Mr. Hoppe solves that problem. He differentiates the voices so well that he needs to teach classes so other narrators know how to do the same thing.
Oct 24, 2013 Gretchen rated it really liked it
I never read this book as a child or a young adult, but have always heard mixed reviews. I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 only because of the very sad ending.

Overall, I loved the book. It's a coming of age story about Robert, the only surviving son of a Shaker farming family in Vermont. Robert, the main character, is 12 years old when the story begins and we find Robert assisting in the birth of a calf and ultimately helping the poor cow live after removing a goiter from her throat. I found R
May 02, 2009 Kristen rated it really liked it
I picked up A Day No Pigs Would Die from our old bookshelf in the basement last weekend when I went home. I couldn’t remember hearing anything about it, and had no idea if it was worth reading, but the tattered cover and faded pages seemed to whisper that I try it out. I’m so glad I did. The book follows a young 12-year-old boy named Robert who is growing up on a rural farm in Vermont. A Day No Pigs Would Die is one of those books you experience, not just read. It left me changed in a quiet subt ...more
Jun 03, 2010 Bookworm1858 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2009, ya-read
I chose this because I had seen it on the banned/challenged books list and I could see that it was short (do you see a theme here?) Apparently it was challenged for its depiction of pigs mating and being slaughtered. And that is gross! There are also descriptions of a hawk killing a rabbit, squirrel hunting, and a dog killing a weasel and then having to be put down. So there is a lot of icky stuff at least to this suburban girl. While it was violent, it wasn't for the sake of violence; the latte ...more
Jennifer Wilson
Jun 04, 2014 Jennifer Wilson rated it really liked it
Are you supposed to review the classics? Well, consider yourself reviewed, young Rob Peck, because I have a work deadline that I would like to procrastinate for about another 20 minutes. I brought home a stack of kid classics for my son, who made a contract for a video game he wants and one stipulation has him reading 3 of them. He didn't choose this one from the stack, but I did, and whipped through this story of young Rob growing up Shaker on an idyllic but hard-scrabble farm. His father butch ...more
Apr 20, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, novel, boy-book
Peck has written a great "boy becomes a man" book.. In this semi-autobiographical novel, the 12-year-old narrator Robert is a Shaker farm boy living in Vermont in the 1920s. The book follows a year in his life involving several experiences that change him from a boy into a man, and along the way there are graphic descriptions of several gruesome and gory things that happen on the farm, including the opening scene where Robert helps a cow that is having trouble giving birth. In general though, th ...more
Jul 25, 2008 Carmen rated it it was amazing
I thought it was a book about a poor Shaker farmboy and his pet; about half way through the novel, I realized I was greatly mistaken. This novel is about love: a boy's love for his pet, in the first half, but the story is really about his love for his father. It's about understanding. The boy understands his father through loss, and it is a beautiful story told in authentic voice.

Some reviewers complain about the sexism in the story; um, do they know anything about the time period of the book? O
Jul 15, 2012 Gena rated it it was amazing
I have never cried so much while reading a book as I have with this one... by a long shot. I have read it twice--once when I was 9 and again this month. It had the same effect both times. I read with the boys and I believe that it has a great message and is a beautiful coming of age story but there are parts that are definately hard to read and can benefit from editing by the reader when reading with kids. *****SPOILER ALERT: Some reviewers are particularly concerned about the scene where the pi ...more
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Historical Fiction 1 7 Sep 12, 2014 05:52PM  
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From Wikipedia--

Robert Newton Peck is an American author of books for young adults. His titles include Soup and A Day No Pigs Would Die. He claims to have been born on February 17, 1928, in Vermont, but has refused to specify where. Similarly, he claims to have graduated from a high school in Texas, which he has also refused to identify. Some sources state that he was born in Nashville, Tennessee
More about Robert Newton Peck...

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“Never miss a keep your mouth shut.” 27 likes
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