Robert Newton Peck

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Richard Todd

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I fear [A Day No Pigs Would Die] is ruinously sentimental, and that the extent to which it affects … you, or me, is a measure of how much more time we all ought to spend cleaning out the chicken coop. The book is told in the voice of the boy, but, in the manner of a children's book, it is full of dialogue and images that are too clever by half, that let the author's self-approval show through. "Hear me, God," the boy cries at a climactic moment. "It's hell to be poor." The pleasure of the book is its evidence to the contrary. It invites you surreptitiously to enjoy the condition you lament. And yet it touches a subject of importance. It is offering the reader a swap: turn in your comfort and I'll give you coherence, an emotional and an actual landscape that make sense … that growing numbers of people couldn't resist….

Richard Todd, "Psychic Farming: Country Books," in The Atlantic Monthly (copyright © 1973, by The Atlantic Monthly Company, Boston, Mass.; reprinted with permission), Vol. 231, No. 4, April, 1973, pp. 114-20.∗

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