Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Esther The Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins

Esther The Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter with Caprice Crane
First published by Grand Central Publishing in May 2016.

A Book with Vegans and included in my Vegan Bookshop.

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unlikely pig owners Steve and Derek got a whole lot more than they bargained for when the designer micro piglet they adopted turned out to be a full-sized 600-pound sow! This funny, inspirational story shows how families really do come in all shapes and sizes.

In the summer of 2012, Steve Jenkins was contacted by an old friend about adopting a micro piglet. Though he knew his partner Derek wouldn't be enthusiastic, he agreed to take the adorable little pig anyway, thinking he could care for her himself. Little did he know, that decision would change his and Derek's lives forever.

It turned out there was nothing "micro" about Esther, and Steve and Derek had actually signed on to raise a full-sized commercial pig. Within three years, Tiny Esther grew to a whopping 600 pounds. After some real growing pains and a lot of pig-sized messes, it became clear that Esther needed much more space, so Steve and Derek made another life-changing decision: they bought a farm and opened the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, where they could care for Esther and other animals in need.

Funny, heartwarming, and utterly charming, Esther the Wonder Pig follows Steve and Derek's adventure--from reluctant pig parents to farm-owning advocates for animals.

I'm probably the only person to have recently discovered Esther through finding out about this book, rather than having already heard of her through her wildly successful social media presence. Esther The Wonder Pig is February's Vegan Book Club (on Goodreads) choice and we're reading the book together as a group all through the month. Please do feel welcome to join us!

I was very entertained by Steve's story of being suckered into adopting Esther, and the changes she wrought on his and Derek's lives. The book is written in an engaging style and I appreciated that, while Steve and Derek were obviously thrown into a situation where they had to learn fast as they went along, they don't overplay their early ineptitude. I was reminded of Tony Hawks pig-carrying shenanigans in his memoir, Once Upon a Time in the West ... Country, in the way Esther's personality and mischievous antics swiftly take centre stage. Pigs are easily as intelligent as dogs and it's essentially just a quirk of human history that determined which species Europeans would choose to eat and which to take walkies. As Steve relates, Esther also enjoys her walks and shares many instinctive behaviours with their pet dogs.

If I wasn't already vegan, Esther The Wonder Pig could well have started to change my mind about dismissing pigs as simply dumb farmed food animals. They're obviously not and the authors soon make this connection themselves, eventually becoming full vegans and animal advocates. I liked their positive attitude towards promoting veganism. It's a perspective I share and I hope Esther's life opens many more people's eyes. The recipes at the end were an unexpected bonus too! 

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Steve Jenkins / Biography and memoir / Books from Canada

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