Book: “Big” by Lloyd Pye
Reviewer: Scott Davis for Oregonbigfoot.com
A quick intro for those of you who don’t know me: I’m Scott Davis, artist with the Oregonbigfoot.com site and moderator for the Oregonbigfoot Members Forum. [Editor's note: You can view Scott's artwork at the Oregon Bigfoot art gallery HERE.] I’ve quietly worked behind the scenes with Autumn for a number of years now, helping her with various projects and ideas. I deliberately keep a low profile in the Bigfoot Research community, but this is a rare moment in which Autumn lured me out into the open to write this book review for you.
I was pleased when Autumn asked me to review this book because I’ve admired Lloyd Pye and his work regarding Intervention Theory, the Starchild Skull and Sasquatch for some time now. Complacency in our quest for learning is never a good thing. The most brilliant minds throughout history have repeatedly demonstrated that it’s not being afraid to question the status quo that has resulted in the greatest advancements in knowledge and the results subsequently gained from that. So, whether one agrees or disagrees with Lloyd’s ideas, he will make you think and question many things, and that is good.
I was curious as to what Mr. Pye would attempt to do in his book, “Big”, which was originally brought to life in the format of a screenplay written back in 1984. Would his sasquatch represent some of the more modern ideas and beliefs about them or would it reflect what we thought back in the mid-1980’s? Was he able to write a good plot with believable characters? Would his bigfoot be the protagonist or antagonist… or perhaps neither? And ultimately… would this be yet another typical “rampaging, murderous bigfoot on the loose” story as we’ve already seen depicted ad nauseam in many previous films and literary works? In the end I was very pleased with the answers to all those questions and some others that I had when I started reading the book. :)
The story opens with hunter/poacher Monty Harper, shotgun in hand, and his speckled pointer dog “Duke” having a very poor day in his attempt to poach game birds, so poor in fact that he decides to head back out of the woods. While contemplating his bad luck Monty starts to notice Duke behaving a bit out of the ordinary. Monty senses that something just isn’t quite right but he can’t seem to figure out what is causing the dog to behave so erratically.
Unable to determine exactly what the problem is, they continue onward until Monty’s truck is finally in view about 30 yards from the road’s open circular clearing. Then, Duke suddenly freezes again, this time his hackle fur lifting and his teeth bared and snarling. Being that Duke is a pointer and well trained to remain silent while stalking, this sudden aggressive behavior really alarms Monty.
Now expecting the threat of a bear, Monty quietly reaches for and loads his buckshot and slowly advances toward his truck. As he swings to the right but sees only trees… until one of the tree trunks suddenly moves and Monty finds himself facing an 8 foot tall male sasquatch. Monty is panic-stricken as the creature studies he and Duke for a moment before casually beginning to walk away. Suddenly seized with equal parts panic, astonishment, and fortune lust, Monty can see only dollar signs in his mind as he quickly takes aim at the bigfoot’s head and fires his upper barrel.
Fortunately for the sasquatch, Monty’s aim isn’t quite true and the heavy pellets strike low and off-center, hitting the shoulder-blade area and tearing out a good sized chunk of hair, flesh, muscle and blood. The sasquatch screams and drops to his knees. Monty quickly aims again and fires his lower barrel but this time he misses badly.
He reloads with his last two buckshot shells and approaches to within 10 feet of the creature, taking a moment to study its features while it kneels in shock, then, again with visions of dollar signs flashing in his mind he aims for the kill shot… but the bigfoot has other ideas.
With a sudden upsweep of it’s arm the Sasquatch grabs the shotgun barrels. Monty reflexively reacts, squeezing his top trigger and firing as the motion causes the gun barrels to misdirect with horrible results. To Monty’s horror, the shot strikes Duke mortally wounding the dog. As Monty cradles his dying pet, the Sasquatch, now in possession of the shotgun, rolls onto his back and cleverly mimicking what it saw Monty do, it points the gun at him and squeezes the trigger. Fortunately for Monty the gun doesn’t fire.
Realizing that this weapon will not work for him the bigfoot stares confusedly at the weapon for a moment allowing Monty a chance to rise to his feet. The sasquatch, now realizing Monty’s attempted escape, takes the gun in both hands and in a display of brute strength tears it in half at the hinge-point as Monty begins a desperate sprint for his truck. He makes it, quickly starts the truck and prepares to flee only to see the bigfoot seemingly appear from nowhere to leap onto the truck’s hood.
After a violent and dramatic chase scene, Monty finally manages to get away from his gigantic, hirsute pursuer, but… the bigfoot is watching where he is going as he departs. The Bigfoot knows that humans live in the tiny community down that the bottom of the mountain and he begins a deliberate and methodical search to exact revenge upon his would-be killer.
And… so begins this fast-paced, exciting adventure that pits man against sasquatch and examines the complex morality and other issues that arise from someone attempting to shoot one of them for profit (which is coincidentally rather ironic, given that such an event has purportedly actually transpired within the last year or so).
As the story progresses, the sasquatch eventually finds and exacts a fair measure of revenge upon Monty (and two of his friends) then retreats to the forest with the intent of making his way back to the other side of the mountain where his own kind find safe haven, but along the way his wounds and the exhaustion from hunting down his attacker take a toll and he passes out in the woods near a pond.
Enter our protagonist, Marcy Dillon, a young lady torn between marrying into a potentially good and prosperous relationship with her long time beau, Paul Granger, or defying local tradition (and Paul’s wishes) by heading off to college to begin her dreams of becoming a doctor. Marcy has come out to the area near Bear Creek Pond in search of various healing herbs at the behest of her friend and mentor, local elder, “Granny Elk”. Marcy needs to learn about the herbs for a report she’s writing and Granny Elk is the local expert on such things as well as being a strong sounding board for Marcy’s personal troubles.
As Marcy begins to wade across the shallow pond she suddenly sees an animal stretched out unconscious under the local legendary tree known as The Last Oak. At first she fears it’s a bear, but then she quickly realizes it is actually a bigfoot… and although she doesn’t know it yet, the very same bigfoot from the aforementioned violent encounter with Monty Harper.
Even though she’s very afraid, Marcy finds the thought of seeing the Bigfoot too compelling to resist so she quietly creeps closer, close enough to get a look at the wound on the creature’s shoulder and realize he’s been shot which immediately causes her sympathetic nature to kick in.
At that moment the creature’s eyes snap open and he roars and tries to move, but he is too weak from injury and blood loss to help himself. He subsequently collapses onto his chest, helpless to defend himself or even flee from this comparably diminutive young lady standing before him.
At this point Marcy’s natural instincts to provide healing rise to the fore and she attempts to communicate and help the sasquatch. It takes some time, but she finally gets him to trust her enough to let her touch him and eventually even treat his wounds. She treks back to her vehicle to get some food and drinks she left there and she brings them to the bigfoot and feeds him. She then leaves, intending to get more supplies and return later to further help her new “patient”.
After returning home, Marcy learns of the bigfoot’s attack upon Monty Harper & his friends. She is the only one who realizes that the creature’s attack was clearly provoked. To her horror she also learns that her dad and her boyfriend are joining Sheriff Sam Powers and his “posse” in their attempt to hunt the sasquatch down. Like Monty, they are driven by the dollar signs they see dangling before them at the thought of capturing or killing a bigfoot. Knowing what really caused the creature to attack, Marcy angrily disagrees with their hunt, but she must watch her words lest she give away the fact that she knows where the bigfoot is.
The story moves along with Marcy’s continued attempts to treat and nourish the sasquatch, whom she now affectionately begins to simply refer to as “Big”, all the while aware that her time is limited. She must get Big nursed back to good enough health to make his trek back over the mountain to the safety of his own kind before the sheriff and his boys show up and track them down. As the posse eventually starts to zero in on their target, Marcy ultimately takes matters into her own hands and heads up the mountain with Big, determined to help him make it home before he can be caught. The rest of this story details those efforts by the courageous young lady as she risks her life to save her new friend and he in turn does the same for her. The book is a pleasant, fast-paced read that moves along briskly from scene to scene, never allowing the reader to tire or get bored with any particular part. Being that it was derived from a screenplay really helps the story as it plays out very much like a movie, easily enabling the reader to envision the characters, scenes and events in their mind as they read it. The characters and dialogue are well written and very believable. Some science eventually gets introduced in the form of Dr. Ann Frazier, a professor of anthropology who has been studying sasquatch for some time, and it is through her dialogue that Lloyd is able to cleverly, and subtly add a brief touch of Intervention Theory into the discussion contained within.
The most interesting character of the story though is obviously “Big” himself, and this is where Lloyd shines in this prose. He gets inside Big’s head… gives us a glimpse as to what thoughts are going through the big fellow’s mind as he encounters each event and person throughout the story. Lloyd does this very effectively, and it really adds a great dimension to the narrative.
Big proves himself to be quite intelligent despite his verbal communication gaps with Marcy. He displays a complex thought process, capable of reason and reaction, capable of looking at a situation, analyzing what course of action to take and understanding the potential ramifications that those actions could bring. Big isn’t just a big monkey… he’s much closer to us in terms of his cognitive abilities.
Therein, I think, lays the crux of whether the reader will enjoy this book or not. If you think that bigfoot is nothing more than an oversized upright bi-pedal ape/monkey… then unless you can temporarily set aside your doubts about Big’s mental prowess, the book likely won’t appeal to you as much as it will others. But… if you are one who is inclined to entertain the speculation that sasquatch is possibly something more than a big monkey, perhaps falling somewhere into the human category, then this story will probably appeal to you very much.
I really liked “Big”. It’s a very good, fast-moving story that’s a fun read which I think can be enjoyed by the bigfoot research community and/or public in general. I’d like to see Lloyd pursue this as a screenplay again now, I think it would make a good film.
- Scott Davis, February 2012
[Editor's note - Thank you, Scott, for all that you do for us within the OB community and for this well-written review! Lloyd's book, Big, is available in e-book format here. Also, check out this book, Everything You Know is Wrong. For the last several years, this has been my number one most-recommended book to friends. ;)]