Sunday, April 24, 2011
Book #16: Swine Not?
Swine Not? is about Rumpy, the McBride family's pet pig who makes the move with the family from comfy Tennessee to intimidating New York City. Rumpy quickly learns he's not quite as accepted in the Big Apple as he was in the rural South. The 12-year-old McBride twins, Barley and Maple, have to come up with elaborate disguises and escape routes anytime they take Rumpy out of the house. That's a sad situation for a pig who was used to running around among humans all the time back home. Rumpy becomes lonely and begins searching for his long lost brother, Lukie, who he believes is living in NYC. With the help of the rest of animal world and the McBride family, Rumpy goes on a quest for his brother and some respect from the big city.
This was a very quick read -- a great book to take on vacation since the chapters are only a couple pages long. (The story is told through the voice of Rumpy the pig and Barley, one of the McBride twins. The chapters alternate between their points of view.) It was easy to put down and pick up again when I only had a few minutes to spare at a time. As lyrical as Jimmy Buffett is, I thought it would flow a little better than it did. I'm sure the thing was edited to death after he wrote the original manuscript, but I was still surprised to see it was a bit choppy.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it was pretty juvenile. I feel like it could be on the shelf next to his children's book (Jolly Mon) instead of next to his other adult novels (A Salty Piece of Land, Tales from Margaritaville). The story is obviously about Rumpy the pig, but the other main characters are children. The characters, plot, and writing all seemed way more kid-centric than I expected, although I'm not sure how you'd make a story about a pig any more adult. It'd be like trying to make Homeward Bound an R-Rated movie. The ending was way too "happily ever after" for me, too. I won't spoil it, but I'll just say some pretty unbelievably unlikely things happen. I would've preferred things to be a little more realistic.
This isn't really specific to this book, but can I just go on record and say that I HATE IT when books don't use contractions? It's so unnatural. Even in dialogue sequences, this book would say "did not" instead of "didn't," "could have" instead of "couldn't." That's a pretty minor beef, but it really bothers me. Seems like I've run in to that in several books lately.
So, bottom line -- this was enjoyable, but not great. It wasn't a huge time investment, so I'm glad I read it, but it was definitely just a silly little book about a pig.
But at the end of the day, you know what? It's Jimmy Buffett. It's excellent.
Read from April 20, 2011 to April 24, 2011