Archive for June, 2007
This week I decided to write about a book I have been reading for a discussion group I belong to. This month the group will discuss the genre known as “Hen Lit.”
This warm and humorous book is sure to appeal to readers who like stories of a strong, older female main character who shares with us the joys and sorrows of her family relationships. Sixty-plus Caroline lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, just as she has done for years with her public-defender husband Tom. Caroline has succesfully raised four children, while at the same time owning and running a prosperous dance studio. Caroline is a mentor and mother figure to all, including the little girls in her studio. At the same time she maintains her humanity: we warm to her disorganization at home, her guilty wish to have quality time alone with her husband, her attempts to understand her children, the fact that though she suffers from arthritis she remains young and vulnerable at heart. Chaos breaks loose at Caroline’s home when her sister announces she is getting divorced and turns up at her doorstep, her daughter announces her engagement yet can’t seem to decide whom she loves, and the foundations of the house are discovered to be in imminent danger of collapse. It is obvious from the beginning that with love and patience all dilemmas will happily be resolved – it is such a pleasure finding out just how!
We were all totally awestruck by the author, whose own life has been one of great adventure. She has traveled to many places, including Africa, Southeast Asia, and the heart of the Amazon. She has won many awards for her animal research and literature, and her children’s books, that include, Search for the Golden Moon Bear, Journey of the Pink Dolphins: An Amazon Quest, and The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans are excellent non-fiction with great photography.
Read the following reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and from John Grogan, author of Marley and Me.
“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.”—Publisher’s Weekly
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 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. I will never forget Christopher Hogwood.”—John Grogan, author of Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog.
To read more about the life and work of Sy Montgomery and her husband, go to www.authorwire.com