Armchair Book Club: Esther the Wonder Pig

Heather Allen explores Esther the Wonder Pig in this week's Armchair Book Club.



If you need inspiration to stick to your resolutions, look no further than the new book Esther the Wonder Pig.

In 2012, Steve Jenkins adopted a micro-pig into the small Toronto-area home he already shared with his partner, roommate, two dogs and two cats. The only problem was that Esther wasn’t a micro-pig. She wasn’t even a small pig. Esther, a piglet at the time, was destined to become a400-pound commercial hog.

Steve and his partner, Derek Walter, didn’t find out about Esther’s true size until after they had fallen in love with her. And rather than turf her out the door knowing that if they did, she would undoubtedly become bacon, they decided to make the situation work.

What proceeds is a hilarious tale of the trials of looking after Esther. Steve and Derek were neat freaks suddenly dealing with a pig using a kiddie pool as her litter box, and who could break into and ransack any cupboard, container or storage space. Even a duct-taped freezer couldn’t keep her out.

The stories of dealing with Esther are funny, but the situation was truly difficult. Picture aChristmas dinner with ham-eating in-laws in a house cold and without power because of an ice storm and a cranky pig rampaging through the house because she has gone into heat.

In the middle of the night, whenever Esther got scared or lonely, she would barrel down the hallway and launch her 400 pounds onto the bed. Despite her size, Esther had to be kept secret from the neighbours because farm animals weren’t allowed within the city.

Almost anyone else would have given up at this point. But not Steve and Derek. Instead, they decided to sell their home and purchase a farm outside of Toronto, which has become the HappilyEver Esther Animal Sanctuary, and now houses all kinds of rescued farm animals.

Steve and Derek were able to buy the farm, and are now well-recognized animal activists, becauseEsther has become a social media phenomenon. Esther has her own website:, and is on Facebook and Instagram.

Whether Esther motivates readers to change their lifestyle or stick to their own goals, this book isa quick and funny read. As Ricky Gervais says on the front cover: It’s “the greatest love story ever told between two men and their pig.”


Penticton Western News