The Cows by Dawn O’Porter (Review)


Fearlessly frank and funny, the debut adult novel from Dawn O’Porter needs to be talked about.

COW [n.]

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.

464 pages

This is the story of 3 different women:

Cam – a well known blogger, feminist and her own woman, happy with her life who is in her 30’s.

Stella – a twenty-something PA still trying to get over personal tragedy and cope with what the world is throwing at her.

Tara – a 42 year old respected documentary maker and single mother juggling life.

These 3 different women collide in a most unusual and surprising manner, making it clear that whatever life choices you make we are all the same.

The novel looks at how what we think is private can become public in a flash, and how dealing with the pressures caused by a connected world can be extremely difficult.

I personally would never even think of doing what Tara did on the train, but the fallout afterwards is ridiculously believable. Public shaming, bullying from peers, sexism in the workplace – all so true to life, and most frustratingly the lack of any attempt to find out who was responsible for posting the video in the first place.

The writing style was straight to the point, talking about things that are seen as taboo without shame.It made me take a step back and realise how ridiculous people can be when they judge women so differently than their male counterparts.

It was told from the viewpoint of all three of the main characters, with Stella and Tara being told in the first person, and Cam in the third person, although her blog posts were given in full. All three voices were distinct and it was so easy to tell the three apart.

I loved the parts where the worlds overlapped, and there were some laugh out loud moments. Especially towards the end in Jason’s studio! (“Do not enter her!” hahahaha)

I could relate to all three characters, especially Cam, making the decisions she has, Tara having to cope with the eyes of the world on her whilst still trying to live, and although Stella does some of the most reprehensible things I can imagine, her actions are understandable.

It is this ability to allow you to get behind the behaviours of such different people that made me love the book so much. There are no apologies for the characters actions. No brushing over things. No beating around the bush.

This is a book that is about women standing up for themselves, discovering who they are, adapting to the world around them, learning to accept what we cannot control without allowing it to beat you down. Many different aspects of womanhood are discussed, surprisingly well and without judgement, different ages, social status, family status.


*warning, there are discussions of sex and sexual acts throughout this book so if that is not your thing then…..*

Received via the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Finished on April 20th 2017


you can buy the book here if you wish

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter


One thought on “The Cows by Dawn O’Porter (Review)

  1. Pingback: April Wrap Up… | Helly Reads

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