The Cows : The Bold, Brilliant and Hilarious Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller Paperback – 22 Mar. 2018
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‘A funny, smart, kind, incredibly truthful book about women . . . all the shame, judgement, envy and love that being alive and female entails’ Polly Vernon
‘Fierce and funny’ Bryony Gordon, DAILY TELEGRAPH
‘Smart and insightful’ RED
‘Dawn's writing is addictive – fearless, beyond feisty and seriously funny’ Mel Giedroyc
‘O’Porter’s wise and witty narrative has many thought-provoking situations and concepts. Different, poignant and smart – I loved it’ Sara Lawrence, DAILY MAIL
‘Compulsive… I can't wait for the next one’ Shappi Khorsandi
‘Feisty characters and fearless prose, THE COWS is totally addictive’ HEAT
‘Sometimes hilarious and sometimes poignant, but always rollicking and fast-paced . . . A feel-good read which will resonate with any woman’ DAILY EXPRESS
‘Entertaining and thought-provoking’ IRISH TIMES
‘A zippy and hilarious book… tackles some of the most serious issues that affect modern women today’ THE POOL
‘Fearless, frank and excruciatingly funny’ OK
‘A whirlwind of a story about three women finding their voice amid societal pressures . . . Excellent, funny, and decidedly unpatronising – as candid as Dawn’ METRO
‘An amazing book about choices and being yourself’ PRIMA
‘Funny and excruciating. You'll think about it for weeks!’ Kristen Wiig
‘I loved it. Funny, moving, twisty . . . Wow! I couldn’t stop reading it’ Jill Mansell
‘A terrifically fun read’ YOU magazine
‘Fast, fun and fearless… a warning bell about social media and the damage it can cause’ S Magazine
‘The Cows looks at motherhood and female friendship through a frank and funny prism that reminds me of the TV show Catastrophe. Smart, fresh and really readable – I loved it’ Tasmina Perry
‘Fast and funny’ WOMAN & HOME
‘We’ve had Bridget Jones now THE COWS is setting the agenda for a new generation of readers’ No 1 Magazine
The bold, brilliant and hilarious Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller
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The Cows is fine. It’s not terrible. It’s just not as good as other people keep telling me.
It is full of judgement and judgy people. We’re supposed to be on board with Tara, the working single mother who avoids the other school mums “I’ve convinced myself they all judge me for my situation and therefore I make no effort to connect with them.” Well that makes her a bit of a twit in assuming none of them are in the same position. She also aggressively invites her kid to someone else’s party. Weird. I have kids. If they’re not invited to a party so what. To keep costs down they only ever have their closest mates come to our house. It’s not an exclusive thing, it’s a my-house-doesn’t-fit-30-kids-in-it thing.
With the fancy dress element of the party, I didn’t get why Tara would make the effort to make a snowman costume but couldn’t be arsed to google Olaf. She’s so self-obsessed and anxious about all the couples at the party. I go to all kids parties on my own. I don’t take my husband. O’Porter seems to be approaching this from a snobby, narrow experience of life. Many of the parents at our school aren’t married couples. There are single parents, grandparents bringing up their grandkids, foster parents, parents who work mad shifts so have to alternate who’s doing the party duty, parents whose spouse is undergoing cancer treatment so lets them have some quiet time instead of dragging them to a party.
By the end of the party in the book (which really isn’t a big part of the story, it just highlighted the narrow minded content of this novel), Tara is upset because “my little princess is crying her eyes out” yes, because you’ve been a selfish, paranoid twit. The party was about her and her friend not you.
There were some lazy parental generalisations like “but the stress of life and a lack of sleep, as well as coping with three kids, makes it hard to spot the smile” when that particular character has kids who are old enough to give her a lie in and a decent night’s sleep.
I’m going to get really petty now but the use of the word “gotten” in the latter part of the book made me cringe. I know it’s American. Dawn isn’t and the characters are in the UK. The word goes through me.
It was fine, it was readable. The opinions of some of the characters sounded like very thinly veiled diatribes straight from the author. Some of the emails, newspaper articles and blog posts lacked authenticity, they didn’t feel like genuine blogs or news stories written by professional journalists (even if they write for the Daily Fail).
I found it strange that all three protagonists (Tara, Stella and Cam) had a severe lack of good quality friendships. They’re all really lonely whether they’re happy or not with that situation. Maybe it was too complicated to weave in more characters but as a mid 30s woman it struck me as odd.
Published in 2016, it’s rather more reliant on facebook then twitter than it would be now. God help us if there’s an instamum and youtube heavy sequel.
It was fine. Not as funny as I’d hoped from Dawn and not as cool as the cover suggests. Definitely don’t judge this book by its cover.
This was no different. (I was also surprised that Dawn Porter of all people would lower herself to write a story where in the first few pages a female character looks in the mirror and describes every physical detail of herself)
At first glance this seems feminist but how can it be when it is portraying women who really want a baby as manipulative rapists, single mums as feeling ostracised by society and women who don't want children as people who are also without the need for the love and company of a partner. And in doing that Porter wrote a totally unbelievable novel.
The characters thoughts, actions and reactions seemed unlikely, as did the reactions and actions of the people in their lives. This book is behind the times hugely, maybe would have got away with this storyline in the nineties but in my opinion 2018 needs novels where women simply ARE living the lives they want without explanation. The only people who could possibly enjoy this book are people with the same snobby and narrow minded view of society as the author.
A friend who also read the Cows pointed out that there is something very sinister in the decision the author made when killing off a character who was scheduled to have an abortion by throwing her down the stairs. If Dawn Porter didn't see the connection with falling down stairs and unwanted pregnancies and the deeper illustration of punishing women for abortions...in this case with the hand of god... well she needs to read more. If she *did* make that connection and this was an attempt at metaphor or some deep and meaningful message it does not hit the mark.
Also I cannot for one minute believe that in 2018 the 'public' would hound a woman for being a solo mum without the dad in the picture. That made me angry.
> Cam - the socially awkward introvert that misses the drunken socials she had with her previous L'Oreal account manager??
> Tara - the independent "I don't care what people think about me as I am ballsy" but every scenario she is appears in is centred on her anxieties about what others are thinking and she is very judging herself and her emails to Cam are childlike for a 42 year old independent??
> Stella - the doting (obsessive / jealous) twin who judges the posts of others on facebook as they appear pretence yet she is being fake to everyone around her??).
The many references on feminism in the book could give feminism a bad name if these characters are what feminism are based on.
Far too many references to pizza - no one eats that much pizza!
I can't also help but think that if the cow and 2 heiffers in the book had dogs, they would just live happily every after and get over themselves.
Top international reviews
Dawn's ultimate aim was to present women in a celebratory way (warts and all) - ambitious, confident, strong and sassy.
The MCs: single mum/producer,Tara; blogger, Camie; and a photographer's PA, Stella. Dawn placed the women in mostly OTT and zany scenes that were occasionally, farfetched. Some situations were complex, uncomfortable or confronting, but there were a couple of wild and humourous ones, too. The women weren't really role model types for modern feminism - pretty self-absorbed and adolescent, actually. But I wonder if Dawn intended them to be framed that way!?
The author had a bold, open and easy-feel writing style. She portrayed our media-based society well and some of her musings rang true. She also touched on issues that women of this demographic might reflect upon: sisterhood, sexuality, societal judgements, abortion, work v family, health, life/death etc.
What I didn't like, so much:
1. Some of those zany scenes didn't quite work for me.
2. Sometimes the flow of the narrative was interrupted, so I disconnected here and there.
3. The plot seemed to become weaker as it progressed.
4. The OTT feel made it difficult to relate to the characters and, at times, they seemed a tad clichéd.
Overall, the topical, satirical 'The Cows' was entertaining, but hit and miss, too. It wasn't quite the trope I was expecting, but I can only encourage readers to try it for themselves, as this is just one person's opinion.
The storyline for Tara just had me in hysterics at times, and reading sections out loud to my hubby. Look out for the scene dealing with broken crockery, and 'the cape'.
All these women had their faults but they felt very human to me, very realistic. I could identify with all of them and what they went through, and the motivations pushing their actions.
This is going into my Top 5 books for 2018.
I give my thumbs up to Dawn !