Being a stay-at-home dad, the father of four children and the primary caregiver for an assortment of pets, including two mini-pigs, may not be everyone's cup of tea, but this intrepid British author lived to tell the tale.
Whyman (Goldstrike, 2010, etc.), whose fiction tends toward dark tales of adventure and mayhem, also writes advice columns for young people. In this humorous chronicle of a year in the life of a London family transplanted to a rural suburb, the author describes his misadventures as a stay-at-home dad responsible for the care of two adolescent daughters, a young son and daughter, a ferocious Canadian sheep dog, assorted chickens, a cat and the two pigs. Adding mini-pigs to the family had seemed to be a fun idea. Whyman explains that reportedly the pigs were highly sociable and were “one of the smartest species on the planet after humans, chimps, and dolphins.” The expectation was that they would be easy house pets, but reality proved otherwise. Although they were smaller than ordinary pigs, they quickly grew too large to keep in the house. Not easily house-trained, the pigs ate the remote controls on the video-game console and raided the kitchen looking for food. Despite protests from his children, Whyman insisted that they be kept outdoors, but containing them created another set of problems as they raided the hen house for eggs, dug up the lawn and broke through fences. According to the author's account, his series of mishaps ended only when he took the advice of a helpful local farmer and accepted that his pets were indeed barnyard animals. They ultimately became less destructive, but they did not evince empathetic or other qualities characteristic of chimps and dolphins.
While the author successfully milks his account for laughs, animal lovers may be disappointed.