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A Day No Pigs Would Die Mass Market Paperback – September 20, 1994

3.6 out of 5 stars 352 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Reading this book is like sipping hot cider in front of a crackling potbellied stove. Every page is suffused with wit and charm and glowing with warmth.”–Newsweek

“A lovely book. . . . Honest, moving, homely in the warm and simple sense of the word. . . . It is small, accepting and loving and it succeeds perfectly.”–Boston Globe

“You’ll find yourself caught up in the novel’s emotion from the very opening scene. . . . Love suffuses every page.”–The New York Times

"With plenty of Yankee common sense and dry wit, and some pathos as the boy at 13 takes on the duties of a man. For boys of this age and for the young of any age."--School Library Journal.

From the Inside Flap

"With plenty of Yankee common sense and dry wit, and some pathos as the boy at 13 takes on the duties of a man. For boys of this age and for the young of any age."--"School Library Journal.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 690L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf; Reprint edition (September 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679853065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679853060
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (352 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Simply stated, this is a good book. I am curious to see that it seems to have generated strong negative responses, but these are understandable. It is marketed as a young adult book, and the realism of some of the scenes does strike me as a bit graphic for young people. I remember reading it in the 7th grade and being moved. I read it again to my young children, and did find that I needed to do some heavy editing on the fly (I did not think that my kids needed the full "mating" scene, and in my version Pinky is traded away and a certain unnamed pig gets a less graphic slaughtering). I think that the warnings to sensitive readers are well-founded, but this book is worthy of the praise that it has received. There are other tough scenes throughout the book, but these all end up producing an accurate picture of human civilization before the age of packaged meat and pampered living. Know that it deals with matters of life, death, and husbandry with a no-nonsense approach, but also through the eyes of a sympathetic character who is simply learning what life demands of him.
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Format: Hardcover
I know this review will be lost in the hundreds of others left here but I have strong reservations about this book and if one person reads my review and is simply made aware of some of the books content then my job is done.

If you aren't familar with the plot, Boy is given pig, pig becomes beloved pet, boy's father must kill pet pig. I'd be okay with my 10 year old reading that type of general material.

However, there is a *very* graphic pig mating scene (let's call a spade a spade, it was pig rape) that is inappropriate for *my* child. It could have been handled far more gently instead of graphically describing the pig's screams and bleeding as the stud pig attempts to breed with her, description of the boy pigs engorged genitalia as it pumps away at the girl pig, inclusion of the boy pig's owner saying something to the effect of "next time she'll be beggin for it"...That scene in itself is enough to keep this book off my daughter's reading list until she's a little older, maybe she'll be ready by age 12 but not any earlier.

The other scene that generates controversy is the scene where the beloved pet is butchered. Yes that's very sad and even kind of gross but I would have still let my 10 year old read it.

There is a lot of good in this book. It will really make the reader think. The base story of a boy becoming a man is solid and for the most part well written. I wish there was a way of writing a review without indicating starts because there *is* so much good in this book but I couldn't bring myself to give it 4 or 5 stars. Wonderful book for a 15 year old. Just not appropriate for under 12 years.
4 Comments 54 of 66 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
It's always a joy to "find" a treasure. This book is a treasure. It was 'loaned' to me by my 12 year old daughter (almost 13, going on 35) after she had finished it for her English class. She didn't like the ending. I did. This book is true in every sense of the word. The actions and emotions and nuances are exactly Shaker and Vermont and turn-of-the-century rural. Rob's life is quite similar to my life as a child 35 years ago in rural Pennsylvania. I was born into a farm family and life, though hard, was really good. Yes, even after my father died when I was nine. I had my grandparents there as it was a multi-generational farm. Especially my grandfather who truly loved farming and gifted me with that love. The values are as important today as they were in Rob's time or in my time. Responsibility. Trust. Joy in a job well done and joy in the beauty of God's wonderful world. The truths that quality (and wealth) is not in things, it is in each of us, how we treat eachother, the largly unspoken respect given by family, friends and neighbors, and that being tired from a hard day's work feels good inside and out. Even the bumps and bruises. (Never get between an Angus cow and her calf, they can be as feisty as any Holstein!) The language and flow is also true and easy. I will add this to my collection and I will encourage my 16 year old son to read it and my toddler, when he's ready. And we will all talk about it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book when I was about 30 and was STUNNED to think that anyone would give it to a young person to read. The violence begins on the very first page. I'm not particularly squeamish or puritanical, but I was really disturbed by the very harsh prose style as much as the subject matter itself. I kept reading because I had the idea that, since my friends had read it in school, the book must have some of value to it, some lesson or maybe some beauty. Not so. The scene that still sticks in my mind ten years later is one in which the family dog is tortured and killed. The reader is spared nothing in the description of the event. I was powerless to prevent the scene from haunting my mind again and again for the next few months. How on earth could a child read this and not get nightmares?

As hideously compelling as it is, this book has no credibility for me, for this reason: the family is supposedly a Shaker family. This cannot be. Shakers were celibate and lived communally. There were no husbands and wives, and the only children were those that had been adopted, again communally, not in families. This is such a glaring inconsistency that I just don't believe anything else Peck has to say.

If you are interested in torture scenes and an unabashedly violent, cold prose style, by all means read this book. But please, please don't give it to a child or to anyone you like.
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