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The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life Of Christopher Hogwood (2007)

The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood (2007)
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Rating
3.91 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0345496094 (ISBN13: 9780345496096)
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English
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publisher
ballantine books
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The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary ...
The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life Of Christopher Hogwood (2007)

About book: I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Essentially it's a story about the writer's life in rural New Hampshire with a pet pig names Christopher Hogwood. I have to admit that most of the time small town life stories do not hold my interest. But this was a story about a pig and I have a soft spot for books about animals and since this book was for free in the laundry room's communal book shelf I figured I had nothing to lose except time. Sy Montgomery really likes animals. For her, observing and participating in wildlife is both an educational and spiritual experience. She's studied apes and dolphins and the octopus and man eating tigers and I bet those books are more interesting but what I liked about this book wasn't really so much about the pig or rural life, but about how this one pig seemed to pull so many people together. Everyone loved this pig. It was interesting to read about the social bonds this pig helped create over the course of his life. All walks of life shared a bond over one animal we usually turn into bacon. The book is part memoir, part animal studies. So there's stories about Sy's life, her family and friends, her career successes and personal losses. In between there are little factoids about animals and different cultures. There are even stories about other animals in her home in case one wants to read about hens and parakeets and cats and dogs as well. But Christopher Hogwood is the center of it all.Things can get a bit overly sappy and her spiritual bent doesn't do much for me. But who doesn't get overly sentimental about a beloved pet and if her spirituality made her happy then who am I to judge? And while I still don't give a single shit about things like making jam and living in a place where you have to drive to the post office, at least those parts were short and not given too much detail. Small town life actually started to appeal to me a little more. Or at least, it started to look like a nice place to visit briefly before needing to rush back to my spoiled life in the city.

There are so many things to love about this book! It doesn't try to be anything but an honest, loving story about a couple and their journey with their pig, Christopher Hogwood. One of my absolute favorite aspects was that this book was unconventionally educational. Sy Montgomery has written several other books about her research and adventures with various exotic animals (ie pink dolphins of the Amazon, silverback gorillas in Zaire, vampire bats in Costa Rica, etc.). I assume that this writing style is something innate in Montgomery, but the book is jam-packed with factoids about pigs. And the information isn't boring or preachy; it's weaved in at the exact moment where the reader can understand by example. The depth the book goes into painting Christopher's personality is extraordinary. Pigs are such amazing animals, and this book proves that a million times over. It helps you understand why loving a pig is nothing but natural. Having owned a pet pig once myself, there is a fair amount I already knew about these brilliant creatures. But the book taught me so much more! It helped me to relive my happy memories of my pig, and lit a desperate need to revisit this lifestyle someday (sooner than later hopefully). I very much enjoyed the design of the book as well. The photos and the backgrounds used were appreciated. It would have been a let down to read about a majestic 750-pound pig and not be able to see something so grand and beautiful. I have a great deal of respect for Sy Montgomery and her husband Howard for choosing to love this pig so fully and unconditionally (and responsibly!), as well as all the other animals mentioned in the book.
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Reviews
Helen
Sy Montgomery lives and writes in Hanover, NH when she is not traveling the world searching for Pink Dolphins, man-eating tigers or Golden Moon bears. Christopher Hogwood came into her life as the runt of the runts much as Wilbur appeared in Fern's life in the celebrated "Charlotte's Web." But there the comparison ends for, though, Christopher does indeed talk, it is in pig language. And the people who love their farms and this particular pig are wonderful listeners. Christopher's charm and zest for the good things in life such gourmet slop from local eateries, Pig Spa, wherein neighborhood children wash, massage and lotion him while he expresses his appreciation with groans of delight, and his forays into the local countryside where he is apt to head unerringly toward the new lettuce all win him celebrity and love from many. This is an unexpectedly delectable book, a book that made me want to wallow in a hot bath while eating strawberries and chocolate cupcakes with green frosting. Treat yourself.
Judy
This is one of those books you can sit down and read at one sitting and never get bored with it. A sweet story of the runtiest of runts who grew up to be big in more than the obvious pig-way. A loving pig who made an impact on many human and animal lives, a pig who helped the quiet author reach out to the new community around her and touch lives through sharing her pig. I loved this book.A wonderful combination of heartwarming, uplifting, good writing and even sobering at times; it will be one of this year's favorite memoirs.R.I.P. Christopher Hogwood, I cried when you left this earth and went to hog heaven.4.5 snoutfuls of goodness
Molly Stewardson
What a shame that this book wasn't better. The major problem I found with it was that I didn't care for the narrator/author. I had a hard time putting my finger on what about the book bugged me until about halfway through when I realized, oh, I don't like her-and I think it's just because I don't care for her voice and tone. She seemed very braggy about everything-animals just love her-she's just so awesome that animals are comfortable with her. And everything, I mean everything was about her. Which, it's her story, so of course things will relate back to her-but every event was all about her-not the pig, not her husband, not the people who came to love the pig, etc--there were far too many "I's" running through the tale about her pig. And, it felt like one giant advertisement for her other books. Her final 2 chapters were the first time I found I liked her, and then it was too little too late. Aside from her tone, it just wasn't well written-the tangents about her other books were slammed in, instead of just part of the story, the timelines weren't always clear, and she mixed in this flowery, trying to hard descriptions about home and love, etc in with facts about pigs and other animals. Which, works, if you know how to do it, and I don't think she knew how. I was bummed, too, that I didn't care for the pig-even though it was being shoved down my throat that he's the most wonderful pig ever that everyone loved just so much-without any reasons ever really supplied why-he was kind of a menace-but not endearingly so. I loved the dog, Tess, and the chickens, however, and they were mere side players in this book and their lives. Overall, it was an okay book at best-and sometimes, just a bad book.
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