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Pig Tale

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Near the village of Little Wicken, a baby girl is found abandoned in a field. Unwanted and unloved, the foundling grows up, existing on the grudging charity of the villagers. It is only when they notice her way with animals that the girl is given a permanent place--as a pig herder--and a name: Mokie, meaning "Little Pig Girl." After a brutal attack by the village boys, fifteen-year-old Mokie flees with her beloved pig, Apple, into the heart of the mysterious Wickenwood. It is there that Mokie meets a trio of Gypsies, who take her under their wing. But she soon discovers that her new friends are more than they appear to be. Could they hold the key to her past. . .and her future? In her debut novel, Verlyn Flieger weaves elements from Celtic mythology into an unforgettable tale that explores universal truths about the human condition--society's need for scapegoats, the yearning to belong, and love's transcendent power to make the world anew. Thought-provoking, unflinching, and original, Pig Tale will break your heart, and utterly astonish you.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2002

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About the author

Verlyn Flieger

46 books56 followers
Verlyn Flieger is an author, editor, and professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland at College Park. She teaches courses in comparative mythology, medieval literature and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Flieger holds an M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1977) from The Catholic University of America, and has been associated with the University of Maryland since 1976. In 2012, Flieger began teaching Arthurian studies at Signum University.

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5 stars
16 (14%)
4 stars
23 (20%)
3 stars
35 (31%)
2 stars
24 (21%)
1 star
14 (12%)
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Sophia Barsuhn.
428 reviews5 followers
August 1, 2018
Way back in 2003, I was nine years old, visiting my grandparents in Arizona. This book was, for some inexplicable reason, in the children's section of a bookstore, and it was the only book on the shelf that looked interesting, so I grabbed it. Reading the words "brutal attack by the village boys" on the dust jacket, I assumed it meant a physical beating. Boy, was I wrong.

I don't think this is a bad book. Reading it again as a twenty-three-year old, there were parts of it I liked. But most of it was depressing, and I can't quite shake the memory of being nine and having to ask my mother what was happening to Mokie, of having rape explained to me, and then not understanding the contrast between rape and consensual sex between Mokie and Dogger John. I was too young for this book, and that's tainted my perspective of it. I would suggest being at least fifteen years old before reading this.
Profile Image for Sally.
1,244 reviews37 followers
August 2, 2008
I grabbed this off the shelf thinking it had promise. Did it disappoint in the worst way. A major theme mentioned in the jacket flap is society's use of scapegoats, and I felt an underdog-prevailing hinted at. Nope. Just suffering, neglect, abuse and heartbreaking loneliness for the poor protagonist. I stopped reading outright before page 50. Read a bit around 100, then 150, then the end, and this poor girl does not ever get a happiness break. What a downer.
Profile Image for Liaken.
1,500 reviews
March 8, 2009
Pig Tale. A light-hearted title for a not-so-light-hearted book. This is an unusual story of a girl who is gang raped, pushes the memory underground, recreates herself to cope with the world, and finally goes back to relive and deal with what happened to her. The healing story arch is very good. The broader story, having to do with the pig, doesn't work as well. The ending, especially, is confusing, abrupt, and unsatisfying.
Profile Image for Ana.
16 reviews
August 15, 2012
I read this book back when I was around 12. The cover looked like a standard fantasy novel. Boy was I wrong. From the beginning the book was horribly depressing. The protagonist, Mokie, is pretty much abused by everyone she meets. Even the guy she kind of became friends with eventually betrays her. I was uncomfortable reading the description of her rape and people were unnecessarily cruel to her afterwards. I only got that far before I had to put the book away and never look at it again. It seriously disturbed me as a kid to read this.
145 reviews3 followers
June 29, 2010
Despite its cover art and genre, this novel is not for children. Nor for the soft of heart. Flieger, the teller of this fairy tale, has a delightful way with words and paints some memorable images. (I'd kinda like to shake a few of them myself.) There's a rather vivid rape, a betrayal or two or three. Some consensual sex, rather soft-focus. Mighty fatalistic. Reminded me of "The Lottery." Only prettier and longer.
Profile Image for Emily.
7 reviews
April 16, 2022
I read this when I was in third grade and still vividly remember it. The fantasy elements were beautiful. Huge TW for a rape scene which was so far above my head at the age when I read it. I still remember the conversation I had with my mother about it, laying in the yard after finishing the book, trying to understand it and the consensual sex that happens later in the book with a different character. Should not be in the children’s section.
Profile Image for Sherry.
23 reviews
May 12, 2017
If you like mystical beings and a little mystery then you will like this book. The story follows a girl named Moakie and her pet pig as she discovers her destiny. It was written well, but not one of my favorites.
Profile Image for Melva Clark.
373 reviews23 followers
June 2, 2022
The book is written well. Despite the beautiful fairy tale type illustration on the front, this is NOT a fairy tale. The Main character is treated subhuman throughout. There are many savage elements. I finished the book feeling awful. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
1,534 reviews4 followers
July 25, 2011
2004- One day, a foundling is discovered on the edge of the village of Little Wicken, the night after a storm. The young girl grows up to be Mokie, which means ""pig girl"". Without a true family, Mokie feels safest when she is with the pig herd, especially when she's deep in Wickenwood, the mysterious forest that's nearby. It's not until Mokie bonds with Apple, the 13th baby pig of a sow, who also happens to be born during a storm, that Mokie experiences many emotions for the first time. A rape scene marks the turning point for Mokie, for she flees with Apple in Wickenwood and eventually meets up with a trio of supposed gypsies. The details in this book were great, and the whole fairy tale felt like it was written more for grownups. A couple of times I got a bit lost with what the ""gypsies"" were talking about, but for the most part, it was a good first book by the author.
Profile Image for Grace Wright.
43 reviews5 followers
March 9, 2010
Didn't quite understand, some parts where dry, when the real exciting things happened, the autjor used words I didn't know where real or if she made them up. I liked the whole idea, just not so much of the writing itself. Don't get me wrong its a good book just not MY type.

Its about a girl born and abandoned in a storm. Raised by a mean family and left with only pigs as friends. After a brutal attack by the village boys, she flees into the forest to find 3 new friends. Human friends. But they know something of her past...and future.
Profile Image for Miss Bookiverse.
1,971 reviews72 followers
September 3, 2012
Ich habe etwa die Hälfte des Buches gelesen und den Rest nur noch überflogen. Um die Bewertung tut es mir irgendwie leid. Das Buch ist nicht schlecht geschrieben, die Idee ist ganz okay und das Schweinchen Apple äußerst reizend. Dennoch konnte mich in dem Buch einfach nichts packen, es war mir zu langweilig und die Figuren habe mich nicht interessiert. An sich gibt es nicht wirklich etwas, das ich an dem Buch schlecht fand, es hat mich aber auch in keinster Weise gefangen genommen oder neugierig gemacht.
Profile Image for Ben Halliwell.
23 reviews3 followers
August 6, 2012
Intriguing book. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it wasn't this! There were parts that I didn't understand, but instead of those parts seeming incoherent they felt as if they were building into a bigger theme, and as if I just needed a few more clues - such as a briefing in Celtic mythology (as mentioned in the insert) - to make this a very rewarding read. I look forward to her sequel, The Inn at Corbies' Caww.
Profile Image for LoudVal.
667 reviews22 followers
March 25, 2011
love a good story constructed from various myths. I'm not familiar with much celtic myths, so this was fun. a lil odd, but fun.
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

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