A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck

Cover ImageFinished 6-8-09, rating 4/5, young adult, pub. 1972

“But when you kill pigs for a living, you can’t always smell like Sunday morning.   You just smell like hard work.”                      Chapter 2

I finished this last night about midnight and it was a two tissue book.  I know many read it as kids, but not me.  I had no idea what to expect or else I may not have read it, but I’m better off because I did.  Maybe it hit me harder because I was already a little bummed after Jason and I watched the movie We Are Marshall last night.  It was a good movie, but not one to leave you happier than when you started.  Anyway…

Rob is a twelve year old Shaker living on a Vermont farm.  This book chronicles that year of his life as he grew into a man.  Rob’s life consisted mainly of his farming chores and school.  He was the last child left at home and he was the only one left to help his dad.  His story was exciting and heartbreaking.  Rob birthed a calf and received a brand new pig, Pinky, for payment.  Pinky and Rob became inseparable.  Rob had many life lessons that year and they were all touching  and some (three in particular) moved me to tears.

Being a city girl, these are a few of the things I learned about farm life.  Pigs and cows cannot live next to each other.  If you need to top your chocolate cake with nutmeats, kill a gray squirrel and take the chewed nutmeats out of his belly and toast them before putting them on your cake.  Weaseling a dog is barbaric.  There are more, but these were the ones that stuck, although I did gain a greater appreciation for farmers.

This is based on the life of the author growing up as a boy in Vermont and if you haven’t read it you should.  It will take you back to a simpler time when 13 year old boys were forced to become men.  It will make you smile and it will break your heart.

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