Immediate Thoughts on The Christmas Pig

Well, I’ve got to give it to her. She’s done it again.

In this post-TERFpocalypse economy, it is, of course, not a good thing to give money to Rowling. Yes, I read a purchased copy of The Christmas Pig. In an unsatisfactory sort of compromise that doesn’t actually help, I’ll just jot down a few unpolished thoughts and try not to expend too much effort on writing about it.

It is a longer and more substantial book than I was expecting. It’s a worthy new entry in the genre of stories about the realm of Lost Toys and how lost things are categorized into desperately missed, somewhat missed, not missed, and unloved. It hit home for me on a personal front, as someone who tends to personify inanimate objects, for better and sometimes very much for worse. Thank goodness for gurus such as Marie Kondo, who teaches how to thank objects and let them go rather than hang on to them out of worry that they’ll feel unloved or abandoned.

In the Harry Potter series, the topic of divorce was conspicuously absent. The Christmas Pig is a tale of what is lost when families break apart. It feels rewarding to read, at last, what this storyteller makes of divorce.

As with The Ickabog, I found it impossible to read passages about principles or politics without thinking bitterly that Rowling is very much on the wrong side of the vicious and bewildering campaign of bigotry against trans people. When I read the story of the wealthy man who knows he was better loved and respected before he lost his Principles, I wondered again how the author can’t see this about herself before reminding myself that this is not a fruitful line of thought. I remembered the times that the Potter fandom hoped this author would acknowledge that she had said hurtful things about race or body size or queer issues, retract and restate them. In The Christmas Pig, there is a character named Optimism who believes that the powerful have a bit of good “deep, deep down” inside of them, and will voluntarily stop treating others unfairly. The story shows that it’s more realistic and productive to stop waiting around for that wishful thinking to come true, and to move on.

The author’s good gifts are in evidence here. The foreshadowing and later callbacks are beautifully done. There is, I believe, one very oblique reference to a detail from Deathly Hallows, and I laughed when I read it. The story worked for me and on me. Darn it, I did find it healing, at last, to be able to picture a restful afterlife for the cherished item that a malicious uncle took from me and destroyed in 1983.

It’s a good book, well-written. Her oeuvre is stronger for it. Sigh. I’m going to go donate twice the cover price to Lambda Legal now.

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