Fearlessly frank and funny, the debut adult novel from Dawn O’Porter needs to be talked about.
A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.
Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.
Tara, Cam and Stella are strangers living their own lives as best they can – though when society’s screaming you should live life one way, it can be hard to like what you see in the mirror.
When an extraordinary event ties invisible bonds of friendship between them, one woman’s catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration, and a life lesson to all.
Sometimes it’s ok not to follow the herd.
The Cows is a powerful novel about three women – judging each other, but also themselves. In all the noise of modern life, they need to find their own voice.
The Cows is absolutely brilliant. It made me laugh, cry, cringe with embarrassment, nod in agreement and left me feeling rather emotional, yet completely empowered by the end of it.
This story focusses on three very different women who are initially unconnected, but gradually become a part of each other’s lives due to events that in many ways are out of their control.
Tara – A single mum and successful career woman, thanks to her own mum helping to take care of her daughter for her.
Cam – A very confident blogger who never wants children.
Stella – A woman struggling to cope with the death of her twin sister, dealing with health issues and wants nothing more than to have a child of her own.
I’m finding it hard to say what happens in this book, as I don’t want to give too much away, so all I’m going to say about the plot is that one woman makes a rather embarrassing mistake that turns her life upside down.
This book feels very current with the focus on social media and feminism. I loved this story. I couldn’t get enough of it and the messages and opinions within the storyline really resonated with me.
I liked Tara, and found myself laughing a lot while I was reading about her. I connected with Stella the least. I did feel for her, especially as she seemed so sad, but definitely didn’t fully connect with her.
I particularly related to Cam, as I too chose to wear band t-shirts and talk about music with boys rather than gossip sessions with girls when I was growing up. One of my teachers in secondary school used to refer to the class as boys, girls and Julie. In another class most of the girls were sat on one side of the room, the boys on the other, but I was always found sat amongst the boys. I don’t really know why this happened. It’s just where I felt more at home. I was quite shy and low in confidence, so I suppose I felt intimidated by female competition and bitchiness. Boys talked about more interesting things and didn’t argue so much, which made me feel more relaxed around them. I’ve always been feminine, but can’t relate to female stereotyped things like orange foundation, scary HD eyebrows, high heels and prosecco. Give me geeky glasses, Doc Marten boots, rock music and a double rum any day.
I also related to Cam’s lack of desire to have children. There are various reasons for me not having children. Partly due to health and circumstances, but mostly through choice. No novel I’ve read before has made so much sense and expressed so much support and sensible reasoning for a woman choosing not to have children. I loved that this book made me feel normal. It’s not that I hate children, I just don’t want any myself. I love being an auntie, as I can have a great time with my niece for a few days, then give her back to my sister when I’m exhausted and want to get back to my own routine.
When I was younger I was often asked why I didn’t have kids yet and told that I would change my mind. Thankfully, now I’m almost 40 years old, most people have accepted my mind is not going to change. I definitely used to feel the pressure that by not having children I was somehow wasting my womb and not performing my duty as a woman. Through Cam and her beliefs, this book reassured me that is not the case. My womb hasn’t gone to waste. Being born with a womb and the hormones that come with being female, is partly what makes me who I am. If I had been born a man, I would likely have been less emotional than I am, and I love being emotional. It makes me fall in love with the books I read, be enthusiastically affectionate towards animals, see and feel the beauty of nature around me. I love being a woman! I love being me!
Despite loving this book, I have never seen myself as a feminist, although now I’m beginning to think I’ve probably been one all my life without realising it. I’m just another human being trying to get on in life the best I can. We are all guilty of judging others, but I have always tried my best to see the beauty in diversity and often dream of a day when we can all embrace our differences. I think it’s safe to say I’ve never followed the herd. In fact, cows scare me, although not quite as much as sharks!
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