A semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel, A Day No Pigs Would Die
relates the author's childhood growing up on a 1920s Vermont Shaker farm. Rob's father is the pig-slaughterer for the community, and though he isn't Shaker himself, has accepted some of their values, including a respect for life. Rob has a pig that he would like to breed, but she's barren, and Rob has to make the choice whether to slaughter her for food. Not long after, Rob's father dies, and at 13, he has to "become a man" and take responsibility for running the farm.
Please Note: This book contains graphic descriptions of farm life and language. Parents should preview if they're not familiar with the book.
Originally published in hardcover in 1972, A Day No Pigs Would Die was one of the first young adult books, along with titles like The Outsiders and The Chocolate War. In it, author Robert Newton Peck weaves a story of
a Vermont boyhood that is part fiction, part memoir. The result is a moving coming-of-age story that still resonates with teens today.
Robert Newton Peck comes from generations of Yankee farmers. Like the Vermont folk he writes about in his novel, he was raised as a boy in the Shaker Way, which endured even after the sect itself had died out. Its view of life is embodied in the character of his young protagonist's father, who believed that a faith is more blessed when put to use than when put to word: "A man's worship counts for naught, unless his dog and cat are the better for it."
From the Hardcover edition.
“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.
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