I have spent a lovely afternoon reading Pigs Can’t Swim by Helen Peppe. Perseus Books sent me a review copy, quite out of the blue, because they thought The Mitford Society would enjoy it. They were right: on the surface it is a story about a large family living in Maine, not quite unlike the Mitfords in the dynamic of sibling life. But unlike the Mitfords there was no draughty stately home, trips to Dieppe, aristocratic connections or a formidable nanny on hand to make life a bit more pleasant when the horrors of family life get in the way. It’s a gritty story, often gruesome with graphic descriptions of animals being slaughtered and senseless (animal) killings. The comings and goings of siblings, never named, but cryptically mentioned through various long-winding pseudonyms, and chilling events which can blight a childhood. No spoilers here! As with the namesake of this blog Peppe manages to rise above adversity with her sanity and humour in tact. An enlightening read worthy of every accolade bestowed upon it.