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

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,095 Ratings  ·  635 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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Rebecca No, it is not a good book. It is a lie.

It is supposedly a semi-autobiographical story based on the author's boyhood in a Shaker family.

Fact: Shakers…more
No, it is not a good book. It is a lie.

It is supposedly a semi-autobiographical story based on the author's boyhood in a Shaker family.

Fact: Shakers did not have families. They did not marry; they were celibate. They lived communally.

Fact: There is no "Book of Shaker." Shakers read the Bible.

Furthermore, I find it hard to believe that farmers of that time would torture their animals as depicted in this story. It's called "animal husbandry" for a reason.

It's junk, and it's sickening junk. Give it a miss.

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 28, 2014 Alayna rated it it was amazing
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.
Veronika  Walker
May 04, 2011 Veronika Walker rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jul 09, 2007 HeavyReader rated it it was ok
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 22, 2010 Linda rated it did not like it
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 06, 2012 Dora Okeyo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Dec 20, 2007 Jennie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 13, 2007 Jeremy rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 20, 2009 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

“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

Sep 05, 2011 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 15, 2008 Philip rated it really liked it
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
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
Jun 04, 2014 Jennifer Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Apr 10, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Eric Oppen
Oct 08, 2015 Eric Oppen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 "
May 02, 2009 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 15, 2012 Gena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 21, 2011 Carmen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 02, 2013 Jessie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2013 Gretchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 20, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, 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
Matthew Zolkos
Jun 11, 2014 Matthew Zolkos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 14, 2011 Sam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2012 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
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
I finished reading this to my two grandsons (ages 14 & 12) wiping tears from my eyes and trying to discretely wipe my nose. All was quite on the boys side too (we were skyping). As soon as I was finished I told them I needed a tissue and to hold on while I grabbed one. I apologized for losing it a bit and the eldest said "I was crying too, Nana, on the inside." This story was so outside their lives, I wasn't sure how well they would take to the story so I was pleased that they were completel ...more
Dec 16, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Jan 30, 2016 Traci rated it really liked it
This is the story of Robert Peck, a young Shaker boy growing up in Learning, Vermont. He's just a boy when the story opens but he's soon to be man, both through his own actions and by circumstances beyond his control.

When the book opens, young Robert spies his neighbor's cow, Apron, trying to birth her calf. Robert tries to lend a hand when it becomes clear that the calf is stuck; there's some hilarity in him trying to "rope" the end that's already out with his pants and then having to run after
Cynthia Egbert
Dec 07, 2015 Cynthia Egbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prospector-loans
This is not an easy book to read but it is an important book to read. I wish that every young man would be exposed to this work. I can say that now because I am no longer sobbing and trying to pick my heart up off the floor. But one of my boys is getting this book, as both an audio and a real book for Christmas. We are so blessed to be able to live so comfortably and with such resources.

Some tidbits:

(From the introduction) "A Day No Pigs Would Die was written to honor all folks do hard work, and
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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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A Day No Pigs Would Die (2 books)
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“Never miss a keep your mouth shut.” 23 likes
“Somehow, the Good Lord don't want to see no man start a cold morning with just black coffee.” 11 likes
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