The Boy Who Kicked Pigs by Tom Baker
Robert Caligari is a thoroughly evil thirteen-year-old who gets his kicks from kicking pigs. Afer a humiliating episode with a bacon butty, Robert realizes just how much he loathes the human race - and his revenge is truly terrible.
This is a delightful little foray into the macabre, as we meet a horrible little boy who meets his comeuppance. It’s certainly the darkest parable I’ve ever read - think Aesop meets Edward Gorey.
The narrative is wonderful, with Baker injecting his satirical wit into most of the plot. It was eccentric, horrifying, utterly and bombastically disgusting, and, most importantly, terribly poignant.
Although only 100 pages or so, there was a section in the middle which seemed to dull for me, making me wonder where we were going with this abhorrent little boy. Perhaps Baker had a beginning and end in mind without the important middle padding, or perhaps he was just gearing up for his morbid finale.
I feel without the illustrations of David Roberts, this book would not have been as effective as it was. His imagery is unsettling, and helps to create gothic and unnatural tones.
Although definitely not for kids, this is a good descent into madness which can be read in an afternoon. I know we all just love seeing horrible wee boys get what’s coming to them.