Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

Pigs do not make good pets. Better said, pigs do not make good pets when you are a rural farm boy and times are hard. With a title like this one, you almost know what's coming and that is what makes this book so engrossing.
Image result for a day no pigs would die

The image at left is the cover of the edition that I read and I must say that this image is much more suggestive than some other covers that I have seen. Earlier editions feature the boy and his father looking very down home in their coveralls

I read this edition due to its inclusion in a banned books list as I was preparing a display at my branch library.  In my opinion I can see why someone of yesteryear would complain as the book has frank discussions of animal reproduction, religion and other topics. Frankly though, in this day and age kids can learn about all those topics and then some within an hour on the internet.

This story is part memoir/part fiction and is set in a small town in Vermont.  Peck does a good job of describing the simplicity of life in the first parts of the twentieth century. Young Rob Peck  is the last son of his parents and as such is gradually entrusted with the responsibilities on the farm. He has one advantage over his father-education. His father, despite being a proud man of the land recognizes the importance of education for his young son.

All in all, this is a fantastic coming-of-age story and should be read by boys all over as it puts forward some hard issues in an accessible way. I recommend it.

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