A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.
But women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.
I was delighted to receive a copy of The Cows from Emilie Chambeyron (Harper Collins) recently. I have never read any work by Dawn O’ Porter, so to be honest I very unsure of what to expect. Described as ‘fearlessly frank and funny‘, what I did know is that The Cows was going to be something very very different.
Today I am absolutely thrilled to be able to share my, as ever, voluntary, unbiased and honest review with you ….
What is the book about:
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.
So, 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.
And now we need yours!
Any book with the meme #DontFollowTheHerd was always going to peak my interest.
The Cows is a story of three woman ~ Tara, Camilla and Stella. All live very different lives. All have very different stories to tell. But the one thing they have in common is that all are trying to succeed in a society that is continually challenging them and attempting to push them back down.
Tara is a single mother of a one. Working in the male dominated world of the media, Tara is tough and determined to reach and raise that ‘glass ceiling’. She has learnt to develop a thick skin and takes the snide remarks, from her predominantly male colleagues, in her stride. Her ambition has always been to achieve and succeed, to prove to both herself and her daughter that women can have it all!!
Camilla (Cam) is the social introvert who hides behind her blog and twitter feed, as a representative of all that is wrong in the world for many women today. Cam has an agenda to prove to the world that the stereo typical view of a woman is wrong. A self admitted loner, Cam struggles to deal with people in the ‘real world’, growing up as the youngest in a busy family with three sisters. Cam has never felt the need to be normal and has always struggled to fit in. Blogging was a way for her to express who she really was and in doing so she created a very successful site. Through her site, with huge sponsorship, Cam became the voice of a generation. ‘It became my life; it became my addiction. The Internet is the love of my life, because it allows me to be who I want to be’
Stella is the one that I felt most pain for. Stella’s story is very sad and in The Cows we get to see how Stella deals with managing and surviving in a world where nobody really cares anymore. Stella attempts to keep her past just that…in the past. She tries to move on and puts on the brave face that everyone wants to see. Nobody wants to deal with other peoples problems and Stella becomes all too aware of where she is in life and what awaits her down the line.
There is a quote from Tara that I think sums up where all these women and many more in today’s society are at:
‘This feeling of never being fully enough for anyone worries me’
Tara becomes the victim of a social media frenzy through an incident that, while may appear extreme, shows how one act can have such a detrimental effect on a person’s life for a very long time.
There is something quite gladiatorial about the manner in which Tara is attacked. ‘Social paranoia is a new emotion for me’
Dawn O’ Porter wrote a great post on her own blog in 2012 on the nature of Trolling (Read full post HERE) in which she states that:
‘I have been trolled, trolled real hard. Trolled so hard I haven’t slept for days. Trolled so hard my self esteem has been left raw and sore. Sore and raw. Rawsore. Trolling hurts, it hurts bad.’
With this book, the full impact of the damage caused by social media is very evident and I have full respect for Dawn O’ Porter in portraying it in all it’s horror.
The story is told with words that, I don’t doubt, will offend many, but anyone picking up a book written by Dawn O’ Porter should expect no less. Dawn O’ Porter is not known for shying away from the world. Her vocal approach to life is refreshingly honest, yet in this post she does reveal the human fall out of social media when it goes against you.
The Cows is a fictional story with a very frightening, yet realistic, narrative at it’s core. As a blogger myself I am all too aware of the chain reaction that a remark on twitter can have. In 140 characters a life can be destroyed, a career ruined. Dawn O’ Porter has expressed all this and more using the three central women as her vehicle to carry the story. People will judge this book as they see fit. It will divide many and it is definitely not a book to everyone’s taste.
But as a blogger, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend I would recommend this book to all the young women of today. The writing is sharp, witty and though at times whimsical, it’s also a very intelligent read.
The Cows is a book about standing up and not to be afraid to be heard. There are many who hide behind the screen, who rant with a viciousness that is frightening. In The Cows Dawn O’ Porter is saying, that it is ok to be afraid and that we should all strive to be who we want to be…To stand up and #DontFollowTheHerd
Purchase Link ~ The Cows (Available from the 6th April)
About Dawn O’ Porter
Dawn O’Porter is a novelist, columnist, broadcaster and designer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, son Art, cat Lilu and dog Potato. She has made numerous documentaries about all sorts of things: polygamy, childbirth, Geisha, body image, breast cancer and even the movie DIRTY DANCING. Dawn is the critically acclaimed author of Paper Aeroplanes and Goose.
Dawn founded ‘Help Refugees’ in 2015. A charity that sends urgent care to refugees across Europe.
Dawn is also the founder of ‘BOB by Dawn O’Porter’ an online vintage fashion boutique, and host of ‘Get It On’ a weekly podcast where she interviews interesting people about why they wear what they wear.