Literature: The Pigman

The Pigman is a 1968 young-adult book published by Paul Zindel. The central plot revolves around two teenagers, John Conlan and Lorraine Jensen, who befriend a widowed middle-aged man, Angelo Pignati, who they nickname the Pigman for his collection of porcelain pigs given to him by his wife before her passing. Through a series of events, John and Lorraine become Mr. Pignati's closest friends, and he becomes a father-like figure to them due to their family issues at home.

The beginning of the book begins with an oath signed by John and Lorraine, stating that they will state only the facts about their experiences with Mr. Pignati. This reveals that Mr. Pignati has indeed passed away, and the novel is an in-universe biography written by the students, with John narrating the odd-numbered chapters and Lorraine the even.

The book had one direct sequel, The Pigman's Legacy in 1980, and an unofficial third edition in 1990, The Pigman and Me, which was an autobiography by Zindel. The Pigman has been adapted into a play, but no film-maker has ever picked it up. It is often assigned to elementary or middle school reading classes, despite being an adult book.

Tropes present:

  • Despair Event Horizon: The death of Bobo, Mr. Pignati's favorite animal at the zoo, is what ultimately does him in.
  • Disappeared Dad: It is discussed earlier int the book that Lorraine's dad cheated on her mom, and they ended up getting a divorce.
  • Does Not Like Men: Lorraine's mom, ever since she found out that her husband had been cheating on her. This is why she does not like Lorraine hanging around with Mr. Pignati and John.
  • Easily Forgiven: Mr. Pignati is not angry at John and Lorraine for throwing a party at his house and his porcelain pig collection being destroyed in the process, but they do eventually serve some form of consequence for their actions when a few more sad events eventually overcome Mr. Pignati, and he dies of a cardiac arrest.
  • Growing Up Sucks: John goes into great depth about this in the final chapter of the book.
  • Pigman: Averted. Mr. Pignati is not some sort of pig beast, the kids just nicknamed him that due to his collection of porcelain pigs.
  • She Is All Grown Up: John towards Lorraine in Legacy.
  • Wild Teen Party: John and Lorraine have one at Mr. Pignati's house while he's in the hospital. It wasn't really meant to be one at first, but things eventually get out of hand, especially after Norton arrives, and Mr. Pignati's collection of pigs ends up getting destroyed.