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Mongtomery, a naturalist who has spent much of her life with wild creatures the world over, admits to feeling more comfortable among animals than those of her own species. At least she did until a tiny piglet entered her life. "Christopher Hogwood came home on my lap in a shoebox. He was a creature who would prove in many ways to be more human than I am." Thus begins a poignant relationship and the story of an exuberant pig that changed the life of a shy woman by spreading a little bit of heaven on earth to all who were blessed enough to meet him.
Christopher begins life as a sickly runt rescued by Montgomery and her husband. A larger-than-life pet with a zest for life, Christopher's escapades and sheer force of will bring people together from all walks of life. Most important, Christopher brought this widely traveled writer things she didn't even know she was missing: family, community, and a true sense of home.
Fetchingly twining her own story with that of Christopher's, Montgomery's candor and wit season this meditation on the beauty of abundance -- in love, in relationships, and in life -- and on what it means to be fully human. A worthy successor for fans of Marley & Me, The Good Good Pig is more than good -- it's an unadulterated, unfettered joy.
(Fall 2006 Selection)
Montgomery's books on exotic wildlife (Journey of the Pink Dolphins, etc.) take her to the far corners of the world, but the story of her closest relationships with the animal kingdom plays out in her own New England backyard. When she adopts a sickly runt from a litter of pigs, naming him Christopher Hogwood after the symphony conductor, raising him for slaughter isn't an option: Montgomery's a vegetarian and her husband is Jewish. Refitting their barn to accommodate a (mostly) secure sty, they keep Christopher as a pet. As he swells to 750 pounds, he becomes a local celebrity, getting loose frequently enough that the local police officer knows to carry spare apples to lure him back home. The pig also bonds with Montgomery's neighbors, especially two children who come over to help feed him and rub his tummy. Montgomery's love for Christopher (and later for Tess, an adopted border collie) dominates the memoir's emotional space, but she's also demonstrably grateful for the friendships the pig sparks within her community. The humor with which she recounts Christopher's meticulous eating habits and love of digging up turf is sure to charm readers. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"What is more jolly and uplifting than a pig?" asks nature writer Montgomery (Journey of the Pink Dolphins); judging by her book's charming cover of a black-and-white spotted pig, bushy eyebrows and all, peering flirtatiously at the camera, one can only agree. The subject is Christopher Hogwood, the sickly runt that the author and her husband adopted and raised to become a 750-pound local celebrity in their small New Hampshire town. As she recounts Christopher's adventures (his many escapes into neighbors' gardens, his picky delight in the slops offered to him by his many fans), Montgomery throws in fascinating tidbits of pig lore and natural history. All this is great fun to read, but when Montgomery talks about the "deep" life lessons she and her friends learned from Christopher, who lived to the ripe old age of 14, the book treads dangerously close to becoming sentimental hogwash, a porcine Tuesdays with Morrie or Marley & Me. People loved those aforementioned books, so there will be demand for Montgomery's latest; still, one wishes for a little less treacle and a lot more of Christopher. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/06.]-Wilda Williams, Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-For writer and world traveler Montgomery, the grounding force of her New Hampshire home was a 750-pound pig. This book is not merely a chronicle of her love for and life with Christopher Hogwood, but also a testament to the lessons learned through her 14-year relationship with him. Usually preferring the company of animals to most people, Montgomery developed an extensive network of friends who were willing to cache and freeze their food scraps for the always grateful, bottomless pig. In turn, these friends witnessed an enjoyment of life's bounty as only a pig can experience-with utter abandon. Montgomery's delightful anecdotes about Christopher's personality, neighborhood wanderings, and haute skin care la Pig Spa are entwined with biographical details about her family life and fascinating animal-research projects. Christopher was undoubtedly Montgomery's muse for this introspective account of personal growth and her underlying mantra of caring for all the Earth's creatures. He also helped her weather the pain of intractable parents who would not accept their Jewish son-in-law. Like Montgomery's earlier books, this title blends facts about animal behavior, natural history, geography, and culture with myths, legends, and a large helping of adventure. The color photographs of Christopher from runt to virtual behemoth are an added attraction. More importantly, the author's engaging writing style will captivate even the most uninspired teen readers.-Claudia C. Holland, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Naturalist Montgomery describes her version of pig heaven. The author (Search for the Golden Moon Bear, 2002, etc.) and her husband rescued a runt covered with black and white spots and named him after Christopher Hogwood, a noted conductor, musicologist and exponent of early music. They took the pig home to their New Hampshire farm, fully expecting him to stay modest of proportion. Fat chance. Succored by the author's loving attention, Hogwood quickly put on 700 pounds and started to act like a pig, his musical affinities confined to a gamut of sonorous grunts. Montgomery reverently chronicles her charge's behavior. He is diabolically smart, notorious for his neighborhood trespasses. He works his snout like a force of nature; practically dissolves when his belly is rubbed; and is worthy of performance-artist status as an eater. In his exuberant passage through life, he sets a standard by which Montgomery can measure her own comportment. In particular, he teaches someone keen on animals and leery of people how to be comfortable in the presence of human beings. "Animals had always been my refuge, my avatars, my spirit twins," the author writes. When someone asks what she is going to do with her pig, she is tempted to inquire, "What are you going to do with your grandson?" While death haunts this book from start to finish, Montgomery learns a good deal from Hogwood about celebrating the evanescent pleasures of living. May well spark a stampede in porcine acquisitions, not as consumables, but as companions.
Advance praise for The Good Good Pig
“This is a book not so much about a barnyard animal as about relationships, in all their messy, joyous, and heartbreaking complexity. In loving yet unsentimental prose, Sy Montgomery captures the richness that animals bring to the human experience. Sometimes it takes a too-smart-for-his-own-good pig to open our eyes to what most matters in life. The Good Good Pig is a good, good book, beautifully rendered and filled with wondrous surprises.”
–John Grogan, author of Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Sy Montgomery’s story of Christopher the pig. What I found was a charming, touching, funny, and ultimately very powerful tale of an extraordinary, even complicated pig and his impact on some very loving, perceptive, and extraordinary people. This story is heartwarming but packs a wallop.”
–Jon Katz, author of Katz on Dogs
“I love this book! It takes us into the world of one pig with such delicacy, such gentleness and yet such depth, that you will never be able to look a pig in the eye again without recognizing the unique person living within. You become somebody who sees why Sy Montgomery loved a pig beyond all measure.”
–Jeffrey Masson, Ph.D., author of When Elephants Weep
“Move over, Wilbur, there’s a new pig on the block. Sy Montgomery has conjured a pure classic for the animal lover’s soul. Poetic, insightful, funny, and deeply moving, The Good Good Pig is as hard to define as it is to put down. Who else but Sy Montgomery could introduce you to a hog and give you a such glimpse of heaven?”
–Vicki Croke, author of The Lady and the Panda