Book Review – The Cows

The Cows
By Dawn O’Porter
Harper Collins
Rating *****

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.


I have never been into the “chick lit” girly book genre and when I picked up this book and read the synopsis that’s exactly what I thought this novel would be like, but I couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, the novel follows 3 female lead characters but a soppy romance this is not, it follows their unusual, unique, quirky and witty lives in a very modern, fresh and fierce way.

The reason I picked this book up was because a few months ago I read Dawn O’Porter’s Young Adult novel Paper Aeroplane and I fell in love with it. (Read my review here) The Cows is aimed at a more adult audience it seems O’Porter does this with great ease and confidence and she captures the correct tone and style for the right audience.

The novel follows 3 characters point of views:

Tara – A middle aged single mum working in a fast paced media job

Cam – An influential blogger who is known for her strong opinions, one of which is that she doesn’t want to have any children.

Stella – A woman who is still grieving the death of her mother and twin sister, she is a PA for a famous photographer, is single and desperate to have children as her time could be running out.

Three completely different women with completely different lifestyles, problems and opinions. I felt a strong connection to each character and found them very relatable. Each had their ups and downs and I felt I was sad, angry, frustrated, happy, in shock, laughing when the characters were. I always say that a book that prangs at you on different emotive levels is a good book, and this one is a roller coaster of emotions.

Throughout the novel O’Porter touches on some very modern themes such as the influence of social media and the news, how supportive families can be through thick and thin and how social pressures can make you feel terrible about yourself and how you live your life.

The main theme that stood out for me was “judgement” and how as a society and culture we judge people too quickly when we don’t know the full story. In this day and age where we have news and social media at our fingertips and see thousands of videos, images and statuses a day we judge all of it, we watch shows like Love Island and XFactor where we sit, and judge peoples looks, feelings and talents, we all in some shape of form are quick to judge. O’Porter really makes this clear within this novel by intertwining judgement within each character’s story. Everyone is quick to judge Tara’s impulsive moment that turns into a global sensation in a matter of hours turning her entire world upside down, she is also judged on the way she parents her child. Cam is judged daily by her own opinions on her blog but the one she gets the most stick for is when she writes about never wanting children. Stella who I think mainly judges herself because she is so desperate to have a child and will do anything to get what she wants. I think what O’Porter is saying is that every woman is different, every woman leads a different life whether that be in work, at home, parenting styles, opinions there is no right or wrong. “Don’t follow the herd” is the books tagline – do what you want free of judgement and other people’s opinions. Find your voice, stand your ground and don’t let others bully you.

My book review has almost turned into an inspirational debate but that’s what I love about his novel it’s not just a great story with great characters it’s so much more than that. It made me think, literally sit back and think about how I judge people too quickly, how I care too often about others opinions, how being a woman is fabulous and I should just be myself and get my voice heard, that’s why The Cows is so powerful and empowering. I can’t recommend this read enough and I can honestly say that I think Dawn O Porter is fast becoming one of my favourite female authors.

Have you read The Cows? What did you love about it? Who was your favourite character? What are your opinions on any topics I have raised in my review? I would love to hear your thoughts. Katie x

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