I’ve followed Esther the Wonder Pig on social media for a while now. It’s amazing how quickly my partner Owen and I became invested in her life, and by extension, the lives of Steve and Derek, the men who adopted her.
Reading about their journey raising Esther was an absolute joy. I also think it was an important book because due to Esther’s popularity I think a lot of people have started to fantasize about the idea of owning their own pigs. Esther The Wonder Pig doesn’t glorify pig ownership. In fact, Steve as the narrator gives all the disgusting, grimy cringing little details of raising Esther mixed in with the stories of love and friendship. It was a great mix that I really felt captured Esther’s unique personality and extreme intelligence, while also outlining the hard (but rewarding) work that owning a 400 pound pig truly is.
My only criticism of Esther the Wonder Pig is that sometimes the prose felt a little forced. The voice of the narrative just didn’t feel believable or convincing, and some of the humour was a little too on the nose. The bits that were truly funny and delightful were the straight up anecdotes about Esther, but when Steve and Derek’s private lives entered in to it, the humour wasn’t quite as natural. It didn’t make the book bad, it just made it seem a little less polished than I would ordinarily have liked it to be. But the anecdotes managed to completely override that small criticism to ensure that this was still absolutely delightful to read.
It was fantastic to read about how Esther, Steve and Derek got to where they are along with their extended menagerie of furry friends. I loved that they spoke about how Esther changed their lives completely for the better, as she’s done for so many of us. I also really loved their refreshing approach to talking about the ethical reasons for Veganism without it being preachy and aggressive. I wish more people could talk about it that way.
In this book Esther feels like a person, and it’s hard not to relate to and fall in love with her delightful antics. Steve and Derek have done a wonderful thing with their farm sanctuary, and the more people who read this book and find sympathy for our fellow living creatures the better. It was an easy read, and one that I would recommend to absolutely everyone.