THE PIGMAN by Paul Zindel


Email this review


The Pigman is Mr. Angelo Pignati, dupe, patron, playmate, responsibility of high school sophomores John Conlan and Lorraine Jensen, who take turns telling what happened. . ""but you really can't say we murdered him."" Hooked like that, you really can't stop reading either, although this echoes the current preoccupation with floundering kids and niggling parents and the abyss between, underlined: ""I don't want to be a phony. . . . I want to be me."" Lorraine and John are sympatico, not sweethearts; home and school are hollow; not so old Mr. Pignati pretending that his wife isn't dead, showing off the collection of pigs he gave her, going to the zoo every day to visit the baboon. And telling jokes and playing games like a kid, with TV and refreshments and no sweat: a refuge. Then he is hospitalized with a heart attack (after chasing John up the stairs on roller skates) and Lorraine and John have the house to themselves. The first evening they sense each other differently. Before Mr. Pignati is scheduled to come home they throw a bottle party and the house is in chaos, the pigs shattered, when he walks in. Not smiling; crying, a policeman says after. Contrite, Lorraine and John insist he meet them at the zoo the next day but the baboon has died and the Pigman has a fatal stroke. ""There was no one else to blame anymore. . . . Our life would be what we made it--nothing more, nothing less."" Insistently rebellious as this is (John smokes, drinks, plays practical jokes deliberately), it's not churlish like some of its sort. And though the kids miss coalescing as individuals, there are moments when you know just what they're talking about.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1968
ISBN: 0060757353
Publisher: Harper & Row