Thursday, February 12, 2009

About Pigtopia

I finished reading the book Pigtopia by Kitty Fitzgerald early this morning. For me, it was a disturbing book, but good.

Jack Plum was born with a large, deformed head. People in the community considered him to be a freak and retarded. He was, in fact, more of a genius who lacked formal education because of his deformity and his mother not allowing him to go to school, but he gained pig knowledge from his dad before his dad was killed. He raised pigs in the basement of his mother's house. His mother treated him terrible and blamed him for her own medical problems. The book emphasizes the intelligence and cleanliness of pigs. In contrast, we see the filth of his mother's life and health. Jack is in his 30's when the story takes place. His mother dies during this time, and he fears that he will be "put away" and will no longer be able to work with his pigs.

Holly Lock is a young girl just at puberty. She and Jack, through Jack's encouragement, develop a secret friendship that leads to many downfalls. Holly tries to help Jack by helping him get rid of his mother's body and hiding her death from the community. By the end of the book, Jack ends the relationship with Holly, but I won't say how. Read the book to see.

One of the things that I brought away from this book is more realization beyond what I already had on how people treat those who are different from us through no fault of their own. Labels are put on these people as being dangerous. I know that this is basically untrue, but I must admit there have been times when I've felt uncomfortable around disabled people. There are other times that I have known these people personally and understand that there is something special about them, and I love them for who they are.

All things turn out okay in the book, but I wonder how it happened, and I'm unsure that it is really okay. The book seems to be a kind of a fairy tale. Some of what happens in the book is entirely grotesque. Even though things are okay, the end is quite sad. And I must say that even though pigs are quite intelligent animals, I still don't like them very much. Maybe it's because they're too smart.

1 comment:

Aunt Dinah said...

Glad you liked the book which I agree is disturbing. I had a lot of trouble "suspending disbelief" as I was reading Pigotopia. Your description of it as a "fairytale" sums it up well. I agree that it provides keen insight into the isolation, anger, and loneliness faced by those who are "different" and who are shunned and "punished" by society and even their own family members as a result. Those who would enjoy Pigotopia most would probably be readers in their early teens.