The Cows by Dawn O’Porter


My enormous thanks to Emilie Chambreyon for a copy of The Cows by Dawn O’Porter in return for an honest review and my apologies for declining the blog tour as I try to reduce my TBR in April (you can read more about that attempt here)!

The Cows will be published by Harper Collins on 6th April 2017 and is available for purchase through the publisher links here.

The Cows


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.

My Review of The Cows

Three very different women, Tara, Cam and Stella, all find life isn’t always under your own control!

The Cows is brilliant. I enjoyed every word. Dawn O’Porter’s writing is vibrant, sassy, sparky, sexy and funny as she explores what it means to be a woman in modern society where men still seem to have the upper hand and modern technology and social media can affect our lives devastatingly.

The plot is very entertaining but also quite disturbing. When Tara behaves in a way I found quite shocking, I thought the responses of the media and social media were even more disturbing because they are so plausible and true to life. There’s a definite suggestion of ‘there but for the grace of God…’ and I think we can all learn a considerable amount about how we present ourselves to society and how we respond to others.

The Cows is a feminist text in many ways, advocating that women can make their own lives, but cleverly, Dawn O’Porter presents men as having their own issues too. Jason and Mark in particular as as used by women as women are used by men. The Cows gives intelligent food for thought whilst it entertains and is actually about people, not just the three women of the narrative. Themes of grief and identity, family and friendship underpin much of the action that I found interesting as they challenged my own perceptions at times.

I am not a great fan of multiple narratives but in The Cows I found the different voices of Cam, Stella and Tara were totally distinct and worked very effectively. I thought it was a clever technique to present Cam more remotely in the third person, given that she is the most willingly public figure. I didn’t like Stella at all and found her actions, whilst the most understandable, the most reprehensible.

I know others have not enjoyed The Cows but I cannot recommend it highly enough. I think the themes are challenging and that some will find the sexual content unacceptable or unpalatable but I think they are missing the point of the book. Dawn O’Porter wants to challenge how we think and I feel she has been highly successful. Let’s just say that I will be scrutinising carefully the person sitting in the same carriage as me next time I take the train!

About Dawn O’Porter

Dawn o

Dawn O’Porter is a broadcaster, novelist and print journalist who lives with her husband Chris, cat Lilu and dog Potato. She has made numerous documentaries about all sorts of things including polygamy, childbirth, geishas, body image, breast cancer and even the movie Dirty Dancing.

Dawn founded Help Refugees in 2015 which is a charity that sends urgent care to refugees across Europe.

Dawn has written for various UK newspapers and magazines including Grazia and Stylist.

You can follow Dawn on Twitter or visit her website. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

9 thoughts on “The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

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