Pig Heart Boy

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Pig Heart Boy
AuthorMalorie Blackman
CountryUnited Kingdom

Pig Heart Boy is a children's novel by Malorie Blackman which was first published in 1997. It was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. The novel was adapted into a television series, which was broadcast by the BBC in 1999.[1]


Thirteen-year-old Cameron Kelsey is dying of heart disease, and time is running out to get a transplant. In desperation, his father approached transgenic doctor Richard Bryce, who is trying to conduct research with pig hearts. To Cameron's mother's chagrin, Dr Bryce agrees to perform the operation on Cameron, although it has never been done before.

Cameron is sworn to secrecy about the nature of the transplant, but he secretly tells his best friend Marlon. Meanwhile, his mother announces that she is pregnant, and a delighted Cameron begins to make videos for his unborn sibling, in case he dies during the operation. The operation eventually goes ahead and is successful, but Cameron is furious when he discovers that Marlon has told the newspapers about the pig heart. He is let out of hospital, but he is now famous and his family are constantly bothered by the media. Even worse, the girl Cameron likes doesn't want to be near him anymore, and some animal rights protesters threaten him and his family.

Cameron starts spending time with Marlon again, but still hasn't fully forgiven him. He spends more time at the swimming pool, trying to touch the bottom. He finally manages it, but gets trapped underneath the surface and accepts that he is going to drown. However, Marlon saves his life. Dr Bryce tells Cameron that his new heart is being rejected, and that he will need another heart transplant. Cameron refuses, as he is sick of the attention. However, when his grandmother dies he realises that life is important, and he wants to be around for his younger brother or sister called Alex.


The book gained favorable reviews.[2]

BBC television version[edit]

In 1999, the BBC made a six-part television adaptation of the novel. Although the television adaptation was overall quite faithful to the book, some things were been changed; including some characters' names (Dr Bryce was called Professor Rae in the TV series), and also the fact that Cameron had not been the first patient to have had a pig transplant with Dr Bryce/Professor Rae. The series also ended with Alex being born; while the book merely ends with Cameron's decision to accept the second heart transplant.

The series was rerun in the summer of 2005. Pig Heart Boy has never been released commercially, though the episodes are available to watch on YouTube.


  1. ^ "BBC children's to screen pig heart transplant drama". Broadcast. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
  2. ^ "Pig-Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman - review". Guardian. Retrieved 2014-09-13.

External links[edit]