Kelly's Reviews > The Pigman

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
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Feb 18, 12

bookshelves: ya-fiction, read-in-2012
Read from February 18 to 19, 2012

I read this one back in middle school and liked it, and I wanted to see if it held up. And it sure as hell did.

Actually, I think I appreciated it MORE now than I did back then. It's not only relevant still today, but it's also funny and touching. Aside from the fact prank calling doesn't work today, everything else here is still as contemporary as can be. These kids drink, swear, party, and behave like teens today. Maybe what I liked most about John and Lorraine is they're good kids at their core, and they're that way despite everything crummy in their lives. Both these kids have terrible home lives and both are poor kids. And neither is particularly interested in school or grades. They're so completely average. Also, they're a boy and girl who are friends and while they also share a romantic moment or two, it's never one of pressure nor one that goes further. It's sweet.

It IS funny reading this now, though, and seeing that they thought the Pigman -- who was only in his 50s -- was so old. But the way they developed a real relationship with him (him, not his things nor his money nor his desire to give them both so eagerly) hit me. He was such a friend to them in a way no adult had ever befriended them before. They felt immense guilt all over about it. Maybe because I'm looking at it as an adult reader now, but it made me like them THAT MUCH MORE.

The ending made me choke up a little bit. I knew what was coming but it was still pretty powerful. However, it was okay because I had spent so much of the book laughing at John and Lorraine, who had distinct and amusing voices. Plus, some of the stuff in here is downright ridiculous, but in a good way.

There's also an interesting (though small) thread about homosexuality here that I never picked up on when I read this in middle school. For a book published in 1968, this was pretty progressive.

This book's still relevant and definitely still has an audience. It's also certainly one of those books that inspires more current titles -- Kathy Charles's John Belushi is Dead comes to mind as one.

My ONLY regret in rereading this, though, was reading the Q&A in the back with Zindel himself. I ... really wish I hadn't. It's great you can curse like a trooper, Paul, but it doesn't mean profanity stops a book from having literary merit.
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Reading Progress

02/18/2012 "I wonder if it still holds up."
02/18/2012 ""Let's face it. Everyone curses." And the entire paragraph about using symbols for cursing and then tossing a "3" in front if it were a REAL bad one. I am laughing so hard. Why do more people not love this book? It was written in 1968! My mind's kinda blown."
02/18/2012 page 95
49.0% "I mean, the guy just lets these kids play around with his stuff! And then he gives them wine! They swear and have dreams about not going to college because they want to write and act."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Linda (new)

Linda Roman I too had to re-read this book because I read it when I was in high school and I am an old lady now at 51!!lol. I had forgotten (in my OLD AGE) what the story was about and how good it was. It still is a great book!! I realized that this takes place when a six pack was only $1.25 and from the teenagers view. I guess most teens think 50 is old even now. :)


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