Kristin's Reviews > The Pigman

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
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Apr 14, 2011

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Read in April, 2011

"The Pigman"is not a recent YA book - it was published in 1968. I chose it because emblazened on the audio book case was the claim that it is "one of the best selling YA books of all time," and it was also an ALA best book. I was intrigued by "The Pigman" because I wanted to see if it retained its relevancy all these years after publication. I listened to this book on audio, and it was a good production. There were two narrators: one for Lorraine and one for John, who are the two main characters. The book is about Lorraine and John, and their relationship with a lonely, old man named Angelo Pignati, who they become acquainted with because of a prank. They nickname him "The Pigman" because of his collection of pigs, and his name, of course. Both Lorraine and John come from dysfunctional homes, and their relationship with the Pigman becomes much more valuable to them than even they can imagine. This is a sort of coming of age story. Events in the book take a turn for the worse, and Lorraine and John are forced to grow up quickly. Ironically, this happens soon after they realize that they were missing out on their childhoods.
This book could not be taught in a classroom. There is a lot of drinking, smoking, skipping school, and lying to parents. I found it interesting that Paul Zindel writes about these things as if they are just a matter of course. I think in YA novels now, there is so much emphasis on these behaviors. Meaning, there would be an explanation surrounding the behavior,and discernable consequences for getting caught. In "The Pigman," it is portrayed as natural - just simply part of being a kid. And the kids aren't really punished for their transgressions, either.
I liked the book. I thought it was fun to listen to a story that takes place when kids are typing on typewriters and asking a telephone operator to connect their calls.

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