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Review: The Pigman by Paul Zindel

in a sentence: A young woman and a young man prank call an old lonely man, and form an unlikely and somewhat unhealthy friendship.

John and Lorraine are two students who hate school, have less than desirable family lives, and few friends outside of each other. Their relationship with Angelo Pignati - known as the Pigman - begins with a prank call made by Lorraine during one of their after school games. They notice the desperation in the Pigman, and are drawn to spend time with him. Over time, they receive many blessings from the relationship in the form of food, gifts, acceptance, laughter, and freedom. John and Lorraine throw it all away by having a huge party in the Pigman's absence, and sever their beautiful relationship forever. The Pigman's death is soon thereafter, and they place the blame on themselves. They know what a unique relationship was forged, and set to write this novel in order to share with the world their experience with Angelo Pignati.

The narrator switches between Lorraine and John each chapter, which provides an interesting point of view. This allows the reader to see the other lead character through someone else's eyes other than their own, and lets us peek into the family life of the narrator. There is no great detail put into the families, which I believe is intentional. Young adults reading this book can identify with the parents presented in the novel, whether it is their own or a friends parent, and don't need to know the specifics of their situation to recognize the parent and their reactions. This is very respectful of the author towards the young adult readers. The changing relationship between John and Lorraine, while obvious to the reader, is subtle and barely touched on in the novel in order to keep the main focus on their relationship with the Pigman. The plot of the novel creates high emotions in the reader, while carrying on in a pace that creates a depth in the relationship and actions of characters in the novel. The reader is at times frustrated with John and Lorraine, but can't help and feel sorry for them too for wanting a safe haven to be cared for unconditionally. The novel is tragic, but there is light with their relationship with the Pigman. There are serious emotions in here, which all young adults are familiar with and will find true to their experience. The author creates a novel with authentic characters that young adults can relate to and respect, despite their poor choices.

Title: The Piman
Author: Paul Zindel
Genre: Coming of Age, Classic
Publisher: HarperTeen
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Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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