Cornmaven's Reviews > The Pigman

The Pigman by Paul Zindel
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Feb 21, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: ms-hs
Read in February, 2009

This is a really old book, but the themes are still relevant for today. However, what it needs now is a little revision to place it in time, because the first person narrative makes it sound contemporary while the cultural details are 40 years old. Teens would reject the lack of cell phones, rotary phone dialing of strangers to pull telephone pranks, and the one narrator's choice of using @##$$? for cuss words if they thought it were a modern teenager, but I think they would buy it if they knew these were 1960s teenagers. The sensibilities were different then.

This reminded me of Shusterman's The Schwa Was Here, in terms of relationship and identity issues. The age old teenage rejection of parent value is there, as is the presence in theirlives of an adult who totally accepts them, but whom they hurt just as much as they have hurt their parents. Two narrators, one male one female alternate the telling of the story, much like Avi did in a couple of books with a female author. It's a nice technique for different perspectives.

The teenagers are just a reckless as teens today; they drink, cause trouble, and see this as normal. And they learn lessons just as much as we hope teens learn them today. The ending is very sad, but Zindel makes an important point: "Our life would be what we made of it - nothing more, nothing less." Food for thought for everyone, not just teens.
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