The Cows - Dawn O'Porter

May 6, 2018

5 / 5 Stars


A fabulously thinly veiled 'call to arms' for women everywhere - solidarity, sisters; not judgement and jealousy!

Any book about feminism is usually of interest to me. However, to refer to r The Cows as a simple feminist story would be to do it serious injustice. It's an upbeat, wise-cracking examination of how many females judge and bully one another (particularly online) - and an overall message to remind us to a) get over it and b) start supporting one another a lot more. AMEN TO THAT!


The book centres on three women. Cam is a successful blogger who rapidly becomes the face of childless women everywhere - daring to speak out about her lack of desire to procreate, despite encountering vicious protests online. Tara is an equally successful media type and mother of one. And Stella is a woman in a state of grief - for her dead mother and twin sister, and for her own health problems. 

The book really explodes into action when Tara does something that is regarded as unspeakably awful by the general public as a whole (I won't spoil the surprise by telling you what it is). She becomes an overnight sensation for all the wrong reasons - and in a heartbeat, her career and life seems completely wrecked. Cam is the only woman who seems to stick up for her, even though they've never met. And Stella? Well, Stella's jealous actions hurt both women, but there's a twist at the end...

There is soooo much to love about this book - not least because the characters are so relateable. Even though Stella's actions are at best questionable and at worst psychotic, the pain conveyed over her twin sister's death is palpable and moving. Tara's moment of shame initially had me thinking 'who would do that' - and struggling to suspend my disbelief, before realising that the act itself wasn't the thing the author wanted me to focus in on. Instead, it was other people's reactions. Glee at seeing someone else publicly humiliated. Judgement at their lifestyle choices. Ruthless bullying online. It was repulsive to read and it was right to make the reader repulsed. Thousands of people troll online everyday - it's a vile act, yet somehow as a society, we deem it acceptable or at least something that must be tolerated. Since when did this become okay?

But I digress. I think this book is a call to arms to ALL women - to be more accepting (and less judgey) of other women's actions and decisions, and to start supporting one another, not butting heads all the time. As the book so succinctly summarises, it doesn't matter if you're childless or a mother of eight, or if you're in a relationship or not, or if you're a career mum or a stay at home mother - these decisions don't define you as a person, and they certainly shouldn't limit you. 

I very much enjoyed this book. Can you tell?!

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