Sunday, 1 May 2011

Pigtopia by Kitty Fitzgerald (3.5/5)

The back says: Pigtopia is a beautifully crafted tale about the unlikely friendship that develops between a lonely and angry adolescent girl, Holly, and Jack, an older man who is isolated from society due to his terrible physical deformities. What follows is the heartbreaking portrayal of their relationship, built around Jack’s obsession with the pigs he rears in secret and which Holly comes to share, and the eventual destruction of this secret world.

Narrated alternately by contrasting voices of Jack and Holly, Pigtopia is a story of violence and foreboding, but also one of compassion and the redemptive power of friendship.

I say: If there’s one thing I have a real problem with when it comes to literature, it’s books written in vernacular, or “dialect,” if you will. Although I understand why an author would want to use this, it’s just so hard for me to read.

Which is why Pigtopia was a slow start for me.

Jack, having not had much contact with the world outside his mother’s house, speaks with what can best be described as the language of a child. As the story progresses and his interaction with Holly gets more intense, his language improves and his parts get easier to read.

Also, I think I got used to it.

I read this in one sitting because it flows along nicely, with a little suspense here and there. I tend to like reading stories where I already know the end in advance, because I like finding out how they get there. Although Pigtopia does end badly, it wasn’t anywhere near anything that I could have imagined. I don't think I’m giving anything away by stating that is was disgusting and very disturbing.

In fact, there are a few parts of this story that turned my stomach.

They were just so unbelievable I think they turned the whole story into a travesty. It was hard enough for me to believe that Jack would be able to build his Pigtopia and manage to befriend Holly. And then once having resigned to that idea, Fitzgerald just took it all too far.

Just way too far.

If it weren’t for these parts I would have liked the book a lot more, but alas, it is what it is.

Oh, I suppose I’m meant to say something about the moral of the story, which is (if you didn’t figure it out but reading the short summary above) that it’s the inside that matters, people can be cruel because of fear and/or ignorance, and everyone needs a good friend.

Although with friends like Holly I wonder if I wouldn’t rather be alone…

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