If youíve ever really loved a pet but have a difficult time getting along with the opposite sex, youíll probably be able to relate well to Rachel Toorís memoir, The Pig and I. From the time she was a young girl and had a pet dog named Barkus, Rachel has had a love affair with animals. When she left home for college, her best friend was a little white mouse named Prudence. After Prudenceís death, Rachel adopted a rat named Hester. After a rocky start, the two became fast friends until Hester had to be put down. Moving up the pet ladder, Rachel then adopted Hannah, a puppy from the local animal shelter who would become the cornerstone of her life.
Throughout the years, Rachel not only got to know her beloved pets, but she also went through a string of men. There was Charlie, the too-nice guy; Vince, the controlling jerk; and then Patrick, whom Rachel would marry and adopt Hannah with. After her divorce from Patrick, there came Jonathan and Mike, the two wonderful men who, though they couldnít continue to love Rachel as a girlfriend, continue to be her life-long friends. In each of her relationships, Rachel always found herself being able to relate better to her pets than to her men. When, after their break-up, Jonathan adopted a potbellied pig named Emma, Rachel was finally able to look inside herself and see the truth.
Told with wit, candor and absolute sincerity, The Pig and I is an amusing and touching story about one womanís struggle to find her place in the world among both animals and men. Her story is told in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-relate-to manner, and the reader quickly becomes invested in her story as well as the stories of her friends and, of course, her animals. Each chapter includes a picture of the animal that is talked about most in that chapter, which helps the reader to feel even more for the furry creatures Rachel loves. Rachel, who has a history of being a book editor, is an excellent writer who has an enviable command of the language and really knows how to tell a colorful story.
The only misstep comes in the last third of the book, when Rachel veers off her chosen topics of men and animals to touch on other subjects like her eating disorder, her running and her distant father. These subjects really deserve a book of their own and seemed out of place here. In these couple of chapters, the book loses focus and almost becomes uninteresting, something that doesnít happen anywhere else in the book. My only other problem with the book is that Rachel sometimes uses large, confusing words when a simpler word would do. This probably comes from her years of editing academic texts, and Rachel needs to learn to edit herself a little in this area when trying to appeal to non-academic audience.
On the whole, The Pig and I is a delightful book that should appeal to everyone who has ever loved a pet. Itís especially recommended to women who have always found it easier to talk to their cat than their husband.