But in doing this, he tells us much more – about life on a small Vermont farm, about his gruff and loving father, about his big brother who tells him, “Only girls plant gardens,” about his big sister who understands his dreams, about his mother mysteriously gone to the city, and, finally, about Ramona who seems to be taking his mother’s place. At the center of this web of relationships is his love for Hambone, the funniest, most mischievous and cleverest pig a boy ever had.
Jeremy loves to plant things, and killing breaks his heart. He shoots over the heads of the ground hogs that invade his garden, and he worries about Florence, a mean cow whose days are numbered. A child, poised on the verge of adolescence, Jeremy struggles to understand himself and the events that swirl around him.
Love and loss converge on Jeremy when, at breakfast one morning, his father announces, “We’re doing Hambone in today and I want you out there.” Taking one of his first halting steps toward growing up, Jeremy refuses.
In the midst of a flawed but loving family, Jeremy learns that love forever changes us and endures beyond space and time.
It is not easy to tell someone who asks, what this (or any) book is about. So in this case, I let the publisher do it. It’s a pretty good effort, and I have no complaints. At the time of the writing of this book I had only one thing in mind – to ease the pain and grief of my beloved dog who was hit and killed by the driver of a Ford pick-up. It was too difficult to tell the story of my dog, so I told the story about a pig. Too difficult to tell it as my own story, so it became Jeremy’s. Jeremy did a good job with it.
What I know now that I didn’t know then – because I didn’t have the language for it – it is another version of the eternal story of life and death and rebirth. The story never diminishes in its power and sense of hope, no matter how you tell it.