Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Favorite Reads: The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery

In My Favorite Reads, each week I am featuring one of my favorite reads from the past. June is Pet Adoption Month. Please adopt a pet from a shelter, don't buy one from a breeder.

The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery

Summary (from the publisher):
A naturalist who spent months at a time living on her own among wild creatures in remote jungles, Sy Montgomery had always felt more comfortable with animals than with people. So she gladly opened her heart to a sick piglet who had been crowded away from nourishing meals by his stronger siblings. Yet Sy had no inkling that this piglet, later named Christopher Hogwood, would not only survive but flourish–and she soon found herself engaged with her small-town community in ways she had never dreamed possible. Unexpectedly, Christopher provided this peripatetic traveler with something she had sought all her life: an anchor (eventually weighing 750 pounds) to family and home.

The Good Good Pig celebrates Christopher Hogwood in all his glory, from his inauspicious infancy to hog heaven in rural New Hampshire, where his boundless zest for life and his large, loving heart made him absolute monarch over a (mostly) peaceable kingdom. At first, his domain included only Sy’s cosseted hens and her beautiful border collie, Tess. Then the neighbors began fetching Christopher home from his unauthorized jaunts, the little girls next door started giving him warm, soapy baths, and the villagers brought him delicious leftovers. His intelligence and fame increased along with his girth. He was featured in USA Today and on several National Public Radio environmental programs. On election day, some voters even wrote in Christopher’s name on their ballots.

But as this enchanting book describes, Christopher Hogwood’s influence extended far beyond celebrity; for he was, as a friend said, a great big Buddha master. Sy reveals what she and others learned from this generous soul who just so happened to be a pig–lessons about self-acceptance, the meaning of family, the value of community, and the pleasures of the sweet green Earth. The Good Good Pig provides proof that with love, almost anything is possible.

Why I chose this book:
Of course ever since Charlotte's Web, who hasn't had a soft spot for a pet pig? Especially the runt of the litter? This was a sweet book, but not overly so. Short and concise, Ms. Montgomery is able to capture a feeling, a moment, with a sketch of a few words. Interspersed with humorous stories, you can smell the grass and feel the heat of the summer sun. He is demonstrably intelligent (so much so that his constant escapes from his pen to the neighbors' start to become repetitive, but he can get through nearly any fastening if there is food at the other side.) While it is of course perfect for any animal lover, it's so well written that The Good, Good Pig will find fans everywhere. Be prepared: it has the same ending as all pet memoirs: sad.


Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This sounds like a unique journey into the animal world...

Here's my favorite:


Alyce said...

I've read books about other kinds of intelligent pets, but never a smart pig before. I guess I've always seen pigs as not so intelligent, so this looks very interesting.

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

I loved this book -- and to this day, whenever I'm cleaning dishes, I always dream of scraping the remains in a slop bucket for a pig!!

Cecelia said...

Oh, animal stories. They always seem to find a place in our hearts, don't they? I think it's because they're innocent and warm.

If you'd like, you can check out my My Favorite Reads.