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

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  6,284 ratings  ·  563 reviews
Robert Newton Peck's novel of a Vermont farm boyhood has become a celebrated classic, captivating readers year after year with its quiet humor and poignant drama. It is the timeless story of one Shaker boy, his beloved pet pig, and the joys and hardships that mark his passage into manhood. A Day No Pigs Would Die is told in a unique and compelling voice, one with all the u ...more
Paperback, 150 pages
Published September 20th 1994 by Random House (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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HeavyReader
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.
Linda
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
Veronika  Walker
May 04, 2011 Veronika Walker rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Adults
Shelves: favorites
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
...more
Jennie
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.
Alayna
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.
Jeremy
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.
Joy
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
...more
Abbe
Review

“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

...more
Dora Okeyo
"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
...more
Joanne
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
Philip
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
...more
Reader Extraordinaire
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
Jennifer Wilson
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
Silk
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.
Kristen
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
Bookworm1858
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
Gena
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
Carmen
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
...more
Jessie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gretchen
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
...more
Sarah
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
Matthew Zolkos
When I first had looked at this book I didn't expect it to be so graphic and so violent as it was. Like when at the beginning of the book when they rip apart the cows throat. I wouldn't recommend this for young children because of its content, but as a young adult and as a adult this is a great book to read and you never loose interest through out the entire book! Excellent book to read if you like to read very detailed descriptive and violent books this is the one for you ! Highly recommended
Sam
My english class read this book, and while my amazingly awesome english teacher also introduced me to a great little read called A Christmas Carol(woo!) I didn't care for this particular book. What can I say? It's not the book for me. I personally feel that the characters were bland. I couldn't bring myself to love, hate, or connect with any of them. Pretty much my entire emotion was disgust. Bloody cow birth, gruesome pig rape. *shudder* I remember reading the pig rape part on the bus to school ...more
Vanessa
A Day No Pigs Would Die is a compelling book. It's extremely sad and heart breaking to read. I definitely cried toward the end. As a vegetarian and animal lover, it was very hard to read some of the passages here. That doesn't take away the amazing story of compassion and endurance in this novel.

While I am certainly surprised by the low ratings of this book, I can understand it. The themes and descriptions in this story could easily be considered controversial. But they are realistic. They are
...more
Michael
Dec 16, 2008 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: boys, farm animals, old women in need
Recommended to Michael by: FORCED
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura
Wonderful. Triumphant. Whatever it is you say about a book that moves you and leaves a lasting impression.

I think I first read this book when I was in 8th grade - so around 1980. It really touched me. I later read it to my children when they were around the age of 9 to 12, and it touched me again at that time and did not feel like a "kid's book" to me. Just a good story.


I saw this as a coming of age story about a young boy who grows up on a farm in a very rural area. He get a pig (Pinky, I belie
...more
Talyn
I actually enjoyed this book. It probably has a low score because it's so abrupt but to me this is like a very abridged version of Charlotte's Web, only instead of Fern it's Robert AKA "Bob".

I liked the writing style. It was "country folk" talk but there is a way of speaking that the Amish, Shakers, and other enclosed communities in America appears to possess that just seems so...charming. It's an honest yet poetic way of talking that I always love to read. It's not like how the Puritans way bac
...more
John McLay
This book speaks to me. Perhaps because it was recommended by my father (decades ago) and because it is a story about a father and a son. Perhaps because it is simple, and I am simple. For whatever reason, this book is one of my all time favorites. I try to read it once each year. A few years ago, I read it with my oldest son. I wept so hard near the end, I could barely read aloud. It was a memorable, bonding experience. I plan to do it again soon with all of my children.
Matt M.
Jun 10, 2013 Matt M. marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
We read this in high school, and I loved it. I remember one part vividly. When the son was taking his pig into town for the contest at the fair, his father was giving him some advice since he was going by himself. The father said, "Never miss a chance to shut up." That line stuck with me and I remember it to this day. I've missed many chances to just shut up, but maybe not as much as if I hadn't read the book.
Laura
I had to read this in middle school. It was disgusting and disturbing because all I remember is one pig screaming and bleeding as the male mated with her. Sick. I didn't grow up on a farm or ever see animals mating, so I always assumed it was a quiet ordeal. Thanks to this book, I learned that it isn't.

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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
More about Robert Newton Peck...
Soup (Soup, #1) Soup and Me Soup for President A Part of the Sky Soup on Wheels

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“Never miss a chance...to keep your mouth shut.” 22 likes
“Somehow, the Good Lord don't want to see no man start a cold morning with just black coffee.” 10 likes
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