Pigman By Paul Zindel. The Pigman is a story about John and Lorraine, high school sophomores who, not getting what they need from their families, must surreptitiously seek love, reassurance, and meaning on the outside. In each other and Mr. Pignati (the Pigman), owner of a porcelain pig collection, they find love and reassurance; the meaning they find in themselves, in the unfolding of their relationship with Mr. Pignati and the drama leading to his death. John, a handsome and wild boy, drinks and smokes excessively; and, as Lorraine points out, only his good looks have kept him out of reform school.
Lorraine, a shy girl John’s own age, has low self-esteem and mild paranoia. John becomes attracted to her because he sees in her the same spontaneous, crazy quality that he has and no one else seems to share. John and Lorraine meet Mr. Pignati via a phone game to see who can keep a stranger on the line the longest. They get a $10.00 donation for a bogus charity and feel guilty about it, since they perceive how lonely the Pigman is.
To make up for taking the money, they take Pigman to feed his only friend in the world, Bobo, an incredibly bad-tempered baboon. Mr. Pignati, as he shows them his pig collection that once belonged to his deceased wife, gives John and Lorraine the run of his house. Soon, Lorraine and John become close friends with the Pigman, who takes them to Beekman’s, a large department store, where he buys them rollerskates and gourmet food. They play games together.
They are like the three monkeys that they see in the pet department at Beekman’s, hugging each other to be loved, and all the while the cold, indifferent world goes about its business ignoring them. One day during a game of rollerskate tag in his house, Mr. Pignati has a heart attack while chasing John up the stairs. He is taken to the hospital, and in his absence John and Lorraine use the house to throw a wild party. Mr. Pignati returns unexpectedly at the height of the commotion.
John and Lorraine are taken home by the police; the Pigman cries alone in his room. John and Lorraine feel remorseful for betraying Pigman’s friendship and for the destruction of his precious pigs by their uninvited friend, Norton, a thief, looking for money. To smooth things over, they convince Mr. Pignati to join them to see Bobo at the zoo the next day. But Bobo is dead. Poor Mr.
Pignati cannot take the heartbreak. His wife is dead. The pigs are destroyed. His best friend Bobo is dead. Mr.
Pignati dies, too. John and Lorraine know they are partly to blame for his death. They know now they are also responsible for what happens in their lives.