Review: The Cows – Dawn O’Porter

Don’t you just hate it when you pick a random book off of your TBR pile and then accidentally enjoy it so much it becomes one of those drastically transformative reads? Me neither. It’s so amazing when that happens, especially when you’re not expecting it. Well recently (i.e. this weekend) Dawn O’Porter’s The Cows did this for me.

“Bra free, childfree, boyfriend free, have you ever committed to anything other than your laptop?”

As a piece of contemporary fiction, it’s my kind of mix. Funny as hell, some serious feminist debate, compelling plots (and plot twists), predictable one moment but then totally unexpected the next and, importantly, it has a brilliant balance between messy, drunken, female tomfoolery and sentimentality – it’s the most entertained I’ve been by a contemporary novel in a long while. Having three protagonists (Tara, Stella and Cam) keeps you on your toes, gasping and chuckling with every turn-of-page. You’ll find yourself saying, “noooooo” a lot too, but a minute later you’ll be nodding and wanting to fist bump O’Porter.


It was interesting to me in particular for a couple of reasons. It was jam-packed with discussions of female sexuality, particularly surrounding motherhood (and non-motherhood). The fact that each of the protagonists has a different opinion or experience with the same issues demonstrates a few of the multifaceted forms that twenty-first century femininity, feminism and female sexuality can take. There are plenty more of course, but it’s refreshing to hear multiple perspectives from one source. One of the ‘morals of the story’ is that just as a woman can choose to want or not want children, she also reserves the right to change her mind. Feminism is about choice, as we hear so often, but for some reason we still give women a hard time when they change their mind. Isn’t changing your mind a fundamental part of choice?

“There’s nothing I can do to make Mum feel better, I am who I am. I’ve told her multiple times not to read my blog but she keeps doing it. If it tortures her so much she should just stop.” (Cracked me up big time, sounds like conversations in my house back when I started #Periodically. Hi Mum!) 

On a much more personal note I enjoyed The Cows because in it I found a book that sounds a bit like my own novel – bingo! One reason I think I have been struggling with pitching my book is that I wasn’t sure how to categorise it, but now I’ve found a book that I think comes from the same family. I’m hoping reading The Cows might give me a much needed kick up the arse.

For everything from public masturbation to motherhood, smelling of cheese to overly keen toy-boys, I highly recommend The Cows and following Dawn O’Porter’s other journalism.

Order The Cows from Wordery with my affiliate link

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