Book Review: Piglet by Lottie Hazel
In just over a fortnight, she is marrying Kit. Kit and his tasteful family present an opportunity for reinvention – when she had been growing up in Derby, this life, this man had been beyond her imagination. Together they are the picture of domestic bliss – effortless hosts in their new house and planning an immaculate, covetable wedding. Everything is coming together for Piglet – tied as tightly and perfectly as her apron strings. But, if a life looks too good to be true, it probably is…
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Piglet by Lottie Hazell is a compact, memorable, suspenseful debut that follows the protagonist as her carefully fabricated life slowly unravels during the most loaded time of her life: the run-up to her wedding.
To the outside, Piglet (I’m not being mean, that’s her childhood nickname) has a life that looks like domestic perfection – brand new home in a good locality, a wife to be (WTB) who loves to host dinners with her fiancé, Kit, and cook amazing meals from scratch (perfectly), and has the shrine she wants her kitchen hob to be. The book begins by introducing the reader to her situation, as well as the people she surrounds herself with, and slowly picks up pace because if it’s too good to be true, it definitely is.
To Piglet, not only is her marriage into Kit’s family a happy event, but a chance to reinvent herself and put her past and parental family at a distance. She comes across as cold and standoffish, but as things get heated, it’s hard not to sympathise for her, despite her absolute disdain for her family and indifference for the concern of her support system. The issue in her relationship with Kit is never discussed explicitly, but implied, and this adds room for interpretation, as well as relatability, but at this point, I advice you peruse content warnings before flipping this open. Planning the perfect wedding is loaded enough with stress, add to it deception, drama, as well as feeling torn about the cost of keeping it all together, along with the discomfort raised by the class disparity between her family and Kit’s, and it makes for some dramatic and suspenseful moments, which get more and more tense as the big day approaches.
I might’ve salivated over the way the author explores the idea of wanting and deserving more, as well as all the luscious descriptions of food. For piglet, food is as intimate as it gets, and there’s something beautifully disturbing in Hazell’s exploration of control and desire and the way it is linked to the protagonist’s never ending hunger for more and more. There’s a distinct darkly comedic moment (I took notes, and you should too, if you have the habit of ordering embarrassing quantities of food at restaurants), and I did not know that the construction of a croquembouche could be so strung out, but it’s pulled off in a really fantastic way.