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Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite
Tom struggled to comprehend why his grandparents did not decide to rescue him earlier, leaving him to contend with feeling abandoned while transferring from one foster home to another throughout his miserable youth. He wondered why his grandparents had abandoned him for so long before deciding to save him and bringing him to live with them on their farm. His animosity had become so strong by this point that he plotted ways to punish them. At the age of 18, his grandparents issued a harsh ultimatum, leading him on a road that pulls him closer to danger the more he attempts to engage in society. Gitte Tamar's horror story Squeal centers on a disturbed young man who, as a result of parental neglect, decides to follow a rebellious and despicable path.
It stands to reason that a character who has spent years feeling neglected and without regular parental figures in his life would acquire unusual behaviors such as raving wildly and talking to animals. Gitte Tamar must have a solid grasp of psychology to develop such a complex, convincing character. Squeal, written in the third person, focuses largely on Tom but incorporates a new narrator's voice that elaborates on what Tom doesn't know and the other characters' viewpoints, including the pigs. Squeal would appeal to people who enjoy tales based on stinging societal truths and psychopathic characters. The themes in the novel include romance, competition, farming, murder, vengeance, family, manipulation, and others. Every aspect of the book is fantastic, but the finale is out of this world. I'll never look at a pig the same way again after reading Squeal!