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The Unexpected Genius of Pigs Hardcover – 4 Oct 2018
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'An engaging book about porcine brilliance' The Daily Express
For Pig in the Middle/Oink: My Life with Mini-pigs:
‘Move over Marley, a pair of cute mini-pigs are about to take over the world.’ New York Post
‘This merry memoir of family growing pains and too many pets has so many laugh-out-loud sequences it's embarrassing to read in public… the most good-hearted, hilarious memoir in years.’ Shelf Awareness
‘What a fabulous, funny read! I enjoyed every page. Highly recommended for anyone with a pet, a partner, a family, a sense of humour…or even a minipig.’ Sophie Kinsella
‘Funny, frank and charming.’ Lisa Jewell
‘Definitely my favourite pigs since Babe… funny and completely charming.’ Jenny Colgan
‘Written with wry humour and accompanied by numerous photographs, ink is a moving salute to love, family and commitment.’ Richmond Times-Dispatch
‘Be careful where you read this book because it is laugh-out-loud funny… Whyman has a flair for self-deprecating asides and for making the "ordinary" sparkling. It's compelling, bristles with irony and is sure to delight animal lovers.’ Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
‘A darling book – very funny and definitely for animal lovers.’ ABC
About the Author
Matt Whyman had no intention of becoming a pig expert. When his wife set down the cat basket and welcomed minipigs Butch and Roxi into their family home, he barely registered their presence. Several years later, with the garden all but gone, Matt watched their two twenty-five stone hogzillas leave in a horsebox for a new life turning the soil on an organic sheep farm. In that time he’d learned the truth about minipigs (there is no such thing), got to grips with their upkeep and fallen in love with an animal brimming with more energy, intelligence, playfulness, sociability, spirit and soul than he ever could’ve imagined.
Matt Whyman is also the author of several novels and two bestselling comic memoirs, OINK: MY LIFE WITH MINIPIGS and WALKING WITH SAUSAGE DOGS. He is married with four children and lives in West Sussex.
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The book revolves around how Whyman purchased what he mistakenly believed were two mini pigs that could easily be fitted in a handbag as pets that would be housed along with his chickens at his countryside home in West Sussex. Not only would they assist in deterring the foxes from attacking the chickens but would make excellent pets for his young children. Unfortunately it would soon become clear that Butch and Roxi where far from being mini pigs and would grow to become "minibeasts", of course the seller would no longer be in business when contacted regarding this fact.
The book recounts the many capers that Butch and Roxi get up to including escaping and damaging a local protected bluebell woodland, getting drunk on rotting apples and their passion for acorns. Also through the assistance of Wendy Scudamore a pig breeder and Professor Michael Mendl a veterinary professor we learn more about the pig's evolution, behaviour patterns and social structure. The end of the book is quite moving as it becomes inevitable that Butch and Roxi have literally outgrown their environment and need to be moved to new pastures. The conclusion is one should be very wary indeed if considering a pig as a pet.
There are some wonderfully evocative drawings in the book but I would have also liked to have seen a few photographs of the two pigs and their environs. Its not a long book and can be read easily in one or two sittings and for this reader at least I found it a most enjoyable read.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
Whyman relating to his own experiences, and with the help of a few experts, looks at the history of pig domestication, their clever and cunning natures, as well as how they live day to day within groups. The book is peppered with humorous and oddly touching anecdotes, dispelling many myths about the often-misunderstood species along the way.
Overall, I really enjoyed the conversational style of the book and found it unexpectedly thought-provoking in many places. While it did feel a tiny bit repetitive in some places, there was more than enough in the book to keep my attention.
This was an ARC from Netgalley and Harpercollins under no obligation to post a review. With thanks.
There was a fashion, some years back, for keeping mini-pigs as household pets. The author’s experience was that his so-called minis grew into enormous maxis. In this book he looks at the history of pig domestication and, with a pig breeder and a professor who is researching them, increases his own and our insight. It’s all enlivened with anecdotes about his two pigs, or those of Wendy, the breeder.
I found it a little rambling – like the pigs – and repetitive in places. It read like a series of magazine articles linked up to make a book. If you already have a fondness for pigs this will delight you. If you haven’t, it’ll surprise you and you could find yourself unexpectedly admiring them.
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