A Day No Pigs Would Die
Family hardship forces a Vermont boy in the 1930s to give up his pet pig for slaughter in Robert Newton Peck's debut young adult novel, A Day No Pigs Would Die. In this and later works, the writer presents a strong sense of character and place. The father in Pigs, Peck said, was influenced by his own father, an illiterate farmer who offered earthy wisdom on a wide range of subjects.
“I wrote A Day No Pigs Would Die in twenty-one days,” Peck said in Authors & Artists for Young Adults. “I had always wanted to write about my father but needed a way to bring the story line into focus. I finally realized that 'the pig' was it; it allowed me to bring out his honor and decency and special kind of sophistication. He was so knowledgeable about relationships in the natural order, and he accepted life for what it is—understanding its violence and its beauty.”
“This episodic, autobiographical novel of a crucial year in a Vermont farm boy's life is wrapped firmly around the central theme of the relationship between father and son,” Anne Scott MacLeod observed. “The language of the book is colloquial, the tone is warm and often humorous, yet the story deals with the fundamentals of life and death, growth and change, love and loss.”
More than twenty years later, Peck wrote a sequel, A Part of the Sky. “Now that Rob's father is dead, the 13-year-old boy must take on the working of the small farm and the protection of his mother and elderly aunt,” reviewer Hazel Rochman said. “He must become 'a Man.' He says so often. And lots of people tell him so: 'To grow up