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Pigs Can't Swim: A Memoir
     

Pigs Can't Swim: A Memoir

4.3 3
by Helen Peppe
 

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An outrageous, hilarious, and touching memoir by the youngest of nine children in a hardscrabble, beyond-eccentric Maine family.

With everything happening on Helen Peppe's backwoods Maine farm, life was wild--and not just for the animals. Sibling rivalry, rock-bottom poverty, feral male chauvinism, sex in the hayloft: everything seemed--and was--out of

Overview

An outrageous, hilarious, and touching memoir by the youngest of nine children in a hardscrabble, beyond-eccentric Maine family.

With everything happening on Helen Peppe's backwoods Maine farm, life was wild--and not just for the animals. Sibling rivalry, rock-bottom poverty, feral male chauvinism, sex in the hayloft: everything seemed--and was--out of control. In telling her wayward family tale, Peppe manages deadpan humor, an unerring eye for the absurd, and poignant compassion for her utterly overwhelmed parents. While her feisty resilience and candor will inevitably remind readers of Jeannette Walls or Mary Karr, Peppe's wry insight and moments of tenderness with family and animals are entirely her own. As Richard Hoffman, the author of Half the House: A Memoir puts it: "Pigs Can't Swim is an unruly, joyous troublemaker of a book." 

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An elegant, honest collection of anecdotes about growing up…Rich sensory details and deadpan humor complement Peppe's head-on dive into her childhood dreams and realities…Peppe captures the wonderment and confusion of childhood, weaving an image of Maine that is dark, magical, and unquestionably memorable.”

DailyCandy Boston, 3/4/14
Pigs Can't Swim pulled us in. Not that Helen Peppe's memoir didn't already have us in its grip, with its pity-free mix of pathos, humor, and four-legged obsession…the author's greatest trick is threading the needle of pain and laughter as she relays difficult tales…wrenching, funny, and uplifting memoir.”

Times Record, 3/30/14
“Alternately funny, poignant, and painful, Pigs Can't Swim is a snapshot of life in Maine, the way no one believes it should ever be, and the true story of a young girl's coming of age, despite all odds.”

Kirkus Reviews, 12/15/13

“A writer and photographer's wry but poignant account of her hardscrabble childhood and adolescence in rural New England…Unsentimental in its character portrayals and forthright yet humorous in its depiction of devastated innocence and family dysfunction, Peppe's book is a celebration of difference, resilience and the healing power of love.”

Booklist, 1/1/2014

“[Peppe's] recollections make for vivid, powerful stories”

Portland Press Herald1/26/14

“Much of this book is laugh-out-loud funny, but there are poignant, sad moments as well…Peppe takes the reader on an up-close tour of what life was like in rural parts of Maine a few decades ago.”

Bookreporter, 2/4/14

“In telling her family's story, Peppe manages deadpan humor, an unerring eye for the absurd, and a touching compassion for her utterly overwhelmed parents. While her feisty resilience and candor will inevitably remind readers of Jeanette Wall or Mary Karr, Peppe's wry insight and moments of tenderness with family and animals are entirely her own.”

The HIPPO, 2/20/2014

“The book tells with exquisite and excruciating detail of her life growing up on a rural Maine farm as the youngest of nine siblings.”

Down East Magazine, March 2014

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306822735
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
02/04/2014
Series:
A Merloyd Lawrence Book
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
524,450
File size:
584 KB

Meet the Author

Helen Peppe began writing stories, mostly about animals, on scraps of butcher paper when she was knee-high to a horse. (All of her furry characters lived happily ever after.) As a student, she wrote short stories and personal essays while working as a professional photographer specializing in horses and dogs. She lives near Portland, Maine, with her husband, Eric, her children, four dogs, four rescued rabbits, four guinea pigs, and two destructive kittens.

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Pigs Can't Swim: A Memoir 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
I received this book from the author, Helen Peppe, in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you Ms Peppe! I was really excited to read this book! Pigs Can't Swim is an interesting memoir. Helen was audacious, and very bright. She managed to shine in a family of nine children - and that is hard to do, even if you are the baby! Her method of co-existing with that crowd was interesting, and I loved her nick-names of her siblings. I also enjoyed her humanization of her mom - It is really easy to make mom the bad guy. Helen Peppe was able to portray all the angst and emotion of coming of age, and the confusion as well. This is a book I will share with the people I love, and keep in my library to re-read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Poignant well written depiction of growing up in a challenging situation. Ms. Peppee shares the antics and heartbreaks of her large complex family. I could identify with many of the story lines. Would highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago