Martyn Pig

Overview

Meet Martyn Pig... a boy with a terrible name, trapped in a terrible life. His mother has left him. His father is a belligerent, abusive alcoholic. It seems like his life can't get any worse.

And then it does. Faced with the sudden, accidental death of his father, Martyn realizes that for the first time ever, he has a choice. He can tell the police what happened -- and be suspected of murder -- or he can get rid of the body and go on with the rest of his life. Deciding on the ...

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Overview

Meet Martyn Pig... a boy with a terrible name, trapped in a terrible life. His mother has left him. His father is a belligerent, abusive alcoholic. It seems like his life can't get any worse.

And then it does. Faced with the sudden, accidental death of his father, Martyn realizes that for the first time ever, he has a choice. He can tell the police what happened -- and be suspected of murder -- or he can get rid of the body and go on with the rest of his life. Deciding on the latter, Martyn and his sharp-witted and undeniably pretty new neighbor come up with a seemingly foolproof plan. Then, just as Martyn begins to think his life is finally under control, a twisted turn of events leaves him stunned beyond belief. Kevin Brooks masterfully captures the humor and heart of this compelling character with his chilling, unforgettable story.

Faced with the possibility of living with a dreadful aunt, fifteen-year-old Martyn Pig decides not to tell authorities when his alchholic father dies accidentally, instead asking a friend for her help in disposing of the body.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW called this novel about a boy who accidentally kills his slovenly and abusive alcoholic father (and decides not to call the authorities) "hard-boiled, wide eyed and laugh-aloud funny." Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Martyn Pig doesn't have an easy life. First there's his odd name as he explains it "Martyn with a Y, Pig with an I and one G." Having a name made for teasing was just the beginning of his difficulties. His mother deserted the family when he was very young. He was left with his alcoholic father whose only redeeming quality seems to be that he manages to keep a roof over both of them. When his father dies suddenly while sitting in his chair, Martyn doesn't know what to do. He fears if he calls the police to report the death, he will be sent by some social service organization to live with his unpleasant Aunty Jean. Life with his father was difficult but with Aunty Jean, he was sure it would be unbearable. This failure sets him up for so many complications and twists in his life that the reader keeps wondering what more can possibly happen to him. The book, published originally in Britain, is the first by the author whose life has included jobs at a railroad station, a crematorium and the London Zoo. His literary heroes, Jack Kerouac, Raymond Chandler, Cormac McCarthy, and J. D. Salinger have left definite imprints on this original book. 2002, The Chicken House/Scholastic,
— Janet Crane Barley
KLIATT
Cursed with an unfortunate name and an alcoholic father, 14-year-old Martyn Pig lives unhappily in a rundown neighborhood. When his drunken father makes a threatening lunge at him one day, Martyn instinctively shoves him away, accidentally causing his father to hit his head fatally on the fireplace. Afraid of being sent to live with his Aunty Jean, "a terrible woman," Martyn decides to cover up the death instead. (Discovering that his father was about to come into a substantial inheritance doesn't hurt.) He enlists the help of Alex, an attractive older girl he has a crush on, to dump the body—but first he plants some of her nasty boyfriend's hairs under the fingernails of the corpse. The plot twists and turns unexpectedly, and the sharp (sometimes gruesome) details, ethical dilemmas, and flashes of humor here will keep YAs turning the pages. This is the first novel by a talented British author; his second, Lucas, is reviewed in the Hardcover Fiction section of this issue. An ALA Best Book for YAs. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, Scholastic, Push, 234p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
VOYA
Fifteen-year-old Martyn Pig, whose mother walked out long ago, lives with his abusive, alcoholic father. While trying to fend off some blows, Martyn pushes his father, who falls, hits his head, and dies. Martyn does not call the police because he is afraid that they will suspect him of murder, or at best, send him to live with his awful Aunty Jean. Instead, Martyn enlists the help of Alex, his pretty friend and neighbor, to help him get rid of the body. Complications ensue as Alex's low-life boyfriend tries to blackmail the two. Martyn gets away with the plan eventually but not without some shocks and twists along the way. This tale is suspenseful, but one really must suspend disbelief. Some events are implausible or too convenient. For example, when Aunty arives for a visit, Martyn props his father's dead and already fragrant body into bed, puts makeup on him so he will look sick, tape records Alex snoring, and tells Aunty Jean that dad is ill. It also will seem unlikely to readers that the police would not have done a better job figuring things out. The narrative is well written, and Martyn's inner turmoil comes across quite well. Unfortunately, this British novel has been Americanized—but not completely. Although Mum becomes Mom and pounds become dollars, sea does not become ocean, packet does not become pack or package, road does not become street, and Aunty does not become Aunt. This inconsistency detracts from the sense of place and atmosphere, resulting in an overall mixed bag of writing. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Chicken House/Scholastic,240p, Stern
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Martyn Pig's mother left years ago; his father is an abusive alcoholic. Living in a dreary English seaside town, he thinks that things can't get any worse. But, in the week that readers spend with him, his life takes an even worse turn. He makes the mistake of yelling at his father; as the drunken man comes at his son with his fist raised, he stumbles, falls (with just the merest shove from Martyn), hits his head on the fireplace wall, and dies. Faced with the possibility of living with his dreadful aunt, and feeling no sense of having done anything really wrong, he decides not to notify the police. With the help of his friend Alex, he concocts a macabre, blackly humorous scene to fool Aunty Jean into thinking Dad is very ill in bed. He and Alex then sew him and some rocks into a sleeping bag and pitch him into a quarry. When Martyn stumbles across a letter informing his father of a substantial inheritance, he thinks he and Alex will be set for the future. Then blackmail and double-crossing enter the picture. She steals the money and disappears, but not before she does away with her boyfriend. In a brief epilogue, readers see Martyn in his aunt's house, in sunnier times. They will be fascinated with the gripping plot twists and turns, and fully engaged by Martyn's distinctive voice. While there are some heavy issues here, the characters are surprisingly likable, and the bleakness is tempered by some tongue-in-cheek and zany humor. Fresh and edgy, Martyn Pig will have tremendous teen appeal.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This sometimes grossly funny, always absorbing gut-wrenching thriller tells the slippery-slope story of how a few (granted large) ethical missteps can send a character sliding down a moral mineshaft. After a sharply etched set-up that neatly lays out the grim life of 15-year-old Martyn Pig, the novel explodes into noir when the protagonist, a passionate mystery buff, shoves his angry, alcoholic father, who is coming at him, "with his fist raised above his head and drunken madness burning in his eyes." Martyn's father, who is too intoxicated to maintain his footing, accidentally falls, fatally cracking his head in the process. When Martyn finds out that his now-dead father is due to come into a substantial inheritance, greed takes over, and soon Martyn is plotting with his slightly older neighbor and best friend, a pretty, talented aspiring actress named Alex. As the determined amateurs orchestrate the grizzly disposal of the increasingly ripe corpse, Brooks piles on obstacles followed by complications. Just when the suspense becomes close to unbearable, he unleashes a completely unsuspected yet perfectly credible plot twist that will make readers smack their heads in disbelief, wondering how they could have missed something so obvious. Brooks does a good job of making his protagonist sympathetic and understandable without being likable, though he spends a little too much time on his internal ramblings, which slows the action without significantly adding to the reader's insight. Still, a minor complaint in an otherwise provocative and engrossing debut. (Fiction. 11-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439507523
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/5/2003
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 233
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.96 (w) x 7.08 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Brooks
Kevin Brooks
With his sharp-eyed knack for zeroing in on the fears and foibles of the teenage set in novels like Lucas (our first Discover Great New Teen Writers selection), British author Kevin Brooks creates books that both adolescents and their elders can relate to.

Good To Know

In our interview, Brooks shared some interesting facts about himself with us:

"I used to work in a crematorium."

"When I was young, I fell out of a window and landed on my head. B-b-b-b-but I'm all right now...."

"I have six guitars and a banjo."

"I like: reading, walking on the beach with my wife and our dog, losing at chess, playing guitar, sleeping, thinking, wearing hats, watching TV crime dramas and The Simpsons, feeding my goldfish, eating sandwiches, making funny noises, and much, much more. Most of all, though, I love writing: it's what I do, and I adore every minute of it."

"I dislike: worms, mustard, and anything that hurts."

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    1. Date of Birth:
      March 30, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Exeter, Devon, England
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Cultural Studies, Aston University, 1983

Table of Contents

Wednesday 1
Thursday 43
Friday 73
Saturday 100
Sunday 140
Monday 153
Tuesday 181
Christmas Day 202
Epilogue 221
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2008

    A must read

    I read this book when I was in the 7th grade and I've re-read it since then about 3 or 4 times. Each time I found something new in it. This is a very interesting, thrilling novel that I would recommend to anyone looking for a quick read that is both a page turner and something that really makes you think. My favorite book from Kevin Brooks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2008

    my opinion and story

    I liked this book a lot. martyn always got made fun of beacuse of his last name. Martyn's parents were divorced. His father was an alcoholic adn always bossed him around. There was this girl named alex. Martyn was in love with her. When martyn accidentally killed his dad, Alex was the only one who new about it. Alex tried to help him out. Martyn wouldnt call the cops he was to scared so he just left his dad in the front room. Alex tried to convince him to call the cops but that didnt help any. Alex always went to martyns house to comfort him adn try to figure out what to do with the dead body.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2008

    Martyn Pig: A Touching Thriller

    Martyn Pig lives in a troubled world. When he¿s not being taunted because of his name, he has to go home to an uncaring, alcoholic father. His dad terrorizes the boy, making him miserable. The situation only get worse when his only relative, his aunt, comes to visit. The peevish Aunty Jean always connives to steal Martyn away. Of course, when a cute girl moves in next door, Martyn becomes infatuated, only to find out she¿s dating a real creep named Dean. Things couldn¿t get much worse, right? A week before Christmas, Martyn¿s father, in a drunken stupor, suffers an accidental death. Now without his only provider, Martyn has no idea what to do. Shouldn¿t he just call the cops? Unsure about the best solution, the boy ends up waiting. When he decides the cops won¿t believe him, he decides to get rid of his dead dad in a less traditional manner. Martyn Pig is a great novel for those interested in dramatic thrillers. Martyn¿s narration shows his truly cynical views of others, which offers an oddly personal insight into his own bleak world. It¿s a compelling read for teens who want to see a different perspective on life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2008

    A reviewer

    this book was pretty good but i was expecting more since i had just read other Kevin Brooks books. I read it in one night though it was very fast paced and stuff. I just got bored ofthe whole what should we do with the dad thing and it grossed me out that he was living with a dead person in his house.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    A great book.

    I got this book from the library and suspected a standard read. I was wrong! I was really surprised with how the book turned out there were great plot twists and the book was easy to understand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2006

    I enjoyed it

    This book really surpised me threw out .I never execpt all this from this book . I was unable to stop reading it . It took me on a great journay . I love ending . I deffintel think ever one should read this book in fact it should be come a movies it was that good . I not kidiing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2006

    This book is a good one.

    This review is about the book Martyn Pig. It takes place around the U.K. I¿ve only read about half of the book but I really like where it¿s going. Marytn Pig is the main characters name that he dislikes. It is a boy who grew up with his father, who is a drunken bum and is very abusive towards Martyn. Martyn also admires his neighbor who lives across the street from him and liked her since she moved in. The main problem is about Martyn¿s dad¿s death and how Martyn deals with this situation. I think it is a great book to read especially if you like suspense stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2006

    This book is GOOD!

    When I first saw Martyn Pig I taught it was going to be like any other book, but like they say, ¿Don¿t judge the book by its cover.¿ Once I started reading this book it just pulled me in. This book Its about a young teenage boy in the U.K. he really doesn¿t like his name because they make fun of it. Another thins is his dad. Martyn¿s dad is an alcoholic and doesn¿t care much about Martyn. Martyn hates his dad, he hates him real bad, but that¿s not the case. Marty¿s dad is dead! And Martyn doesn¿t know what to do, if he should call the police and be suspicious about murder. Or just go on with his rest of his life¿ Sounds easy huh? Not really. Read this book and find out what happens, THIS BOOK IS GREAT!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2004

    O my goodness......

    This book gives you sooooooooo many surprises from beginning to the end. This is one of the very few books that you can read over and over and over again without getting bored

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2004

    I was moved

    A morbid look into the secluded mind of an utterly unique teen who's struggling to get a grip on what his life IS. Take that character...throw in a murder...and a love interest...some villains you have a masterpiece tailored for your interest specially by Kevin Brooks

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2003

    *You Would Wish It Would Never End!*

    This is my all-time favorite book and it is a must read book! I would advise everybody to read it! The author made the characters so real, he did an awesome job with this book! It just can't get any better! If you want a spetacular book to read, this is the one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2003

    Like Reading a poem

    This was the most amazing book I have ever read. The way Kevin Brooks wrote it was so beautiful. It was like reading a peom the whole time. I cried when it was over because I just wanted more. It was really an amazing book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2003

    Martyn in trouble

    I would recomend this book to anyone probably 17 or younger because and adult would probably not like this kind of book. Martyn is a kid who feels left out his dad treats him like treat dirt. His dad is a drunk and doesn't care about anything but himself. Martyn and his dad got in an arguement and his dad pushed him so Martyn pushed him back. Martyn's dad stumbled back and hit his head on the fireplace mantle and died instantly. Martyn is in so much shock that he doesn't call the police, he is confused, and worried. Now it is too late to call the police because they would get ideas like he killed his dad on purpose. Alex Martyn's friend finds out and now they are trying to plan what to do with his dad's body and doing while his Aunt Jean can't find out. Aunt Jean only thinks that he is seriously ill.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2003

    Very Good Book

    I got this book from the library and I thought it was really good! It kept me wanting to read more and more! It's a very good book =^..^=

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews

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