Hi guys, and happy Tuesday! Today I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of Dawn O’Porter’s blog tour. Her newest novel, “The Cows”, is being published on 6th April and let me tell you something, guys – it is a book like no other, and I would really highly recommend it to you! It’s about women and for women, full of embarrassing but also funny and poignant moments, just a perfect mix. When you read my review, below you can find an extract as well – a foretaste 🙂 Enjoy!
The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
Publishing Date: 6th April 2017
Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 464
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
Fearlessly frank and funny, the debut adult novel from Dawn O’Porter needs to be talked about.
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.
THE COWS is a powerful novel about three women. In all the noise of modern life, each needs to find their own voice.
It’s about friendship and being female.
It’s bold and brilliant.
It’s searingly perceptive.
It’s about never following the herd.
And everyone is going to be talking about it.
Before spotting “The Cows” I was not familiar with Dawn O’Porter and her writing but right now, after reading this novel, I am really glad that I’ve come across this author. This book turned out to be a sharp, brutally honest, bitter – sweat and very insightful novel about women, the choices they make and how hard it still is to be a woman in this society, especially when you refuse to follow the rules being set by others, to follow the herd. A very modern and thought – provoking book dealing with the role of a woman in today’s society.
The story follows three women that at the beginning have nothing in common. You know how touchy I am about novels that tell us stories about different people which paths do not cross and I was really intrigued how this is going to work this time. However, at the end, the paths of Cam, Tara and Stella do cross and yes, I was absolutely happy with this outcome – it worked for me. I admit that at the beginning I had problems to get into the story and to warm to the characters – the latter didn’t happen with all of the women. I wasn’t sure if it is going to be a novel, a story or a feministic peon, a manifesto. But “The Cows” were slowly, with every page turned, turning into a proper story that in the end I didn’t want to put down. OK, I’ll admit, I spent the last night reading instead of sleeping.
Tara is a single mother with a stable career in making documentaries. The pregnancy was a result of a one – night fling and it was Tara’s conscious decision to bring her daughter up alone, which one day will turn against her – after she’s being filmed on a train in a very intimate and uncomfortable situation her world is being put upside down. I think I liked her most, maybe because I had a feeling that there was the most background given about her, that I know her most. I also fell for her totally and kept everything crossed for her. Cam is a single life – style blogger with thousands of followers. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself, to stand her ground when it comes to consciously remain childless, to have a younger lover who comes and goes when she wants and to write about women and for women. I loved her honesty and the way she fought for herself, she was strong, intelligent and sharp. Then we have Stella, a single PA to a writer, carrying the BRCA gene and still grieving after the death of her mother and then twin sister Alice. I must admit that quickly I started to wonder if Stella’s mental health is absolutely in order – I didn’t sympathize with her, I disliked her even though the cross she had to carry was a very serious one but still, there was something in her that just rejected me from her and the more I read about her, the more I despised her. But likes or dislikes apart, the characters were vivid and really realistic with all their dramas, flaws and ups and downs.
The book covers many controversial and taboo issues, such as abortion, masturbation, periods to name only a few, in a very modern language. However, I didn’t feel offended or ashamed because in my eyes the author has dealt with those issues in a normal way, describing them just like they are, without beating around the bush, without pulling the wool over our eyes – only telling how it really is. It also deals with the dangers of the modern social media, showing what one little video going viral may done to a person. I’d only wanted the book to also deal with the young guy who has posted this video, it’s a pity there was nothing about him, as I would love to see him punished till he bled, and I am not a violent person. All were talking about and condemning Tara and nobody thought that it were her rights being violated, that she didn’t ask for this and it should be this young guy being ostracised and criticised for letting the world see what he has filmed. I hated this guy, his thoughtlessness, his inconsideration of other people’s lives and feelings. He has done the harm, not Tara.
The book started slowly and some of the events throughout the story were a little too far fetched for my liking. There were some moments that I thought “no way”, they just seemed so impossible – for example, the thing with Jason not being able to track Tara, it just didn’t sit with me, I’m sorry, but who nowadays doesn’t have an access to internet? There were some similar moments, especially when Stella was concerned but altogether they didn’t spoil the reading so much for me.
“The Cows” is a story about women standing up for themselves, standing for their beliefs, finding the courage. I loved the fact that it is so bold and so open, like any other fiction book and the author hides from nothing. She writes about each issue in her story with honesty, not apologising for being a woman and having period. She provides an excellent discussion of what it is to be a woman, about friendships. For me it was a celebration of womanhood, this book, as Dawn O’Porter writes about – and doesn’t judge! – young and older women, working or unemployed, mother, childless; those wanting children and those who don’t want them, married or single; but first of all, women who decide not to follow the herd. Recommended!
Does anyone want to hear a love story? It’s not one that has ever been told before. It’s called, Cam Stacey and her great love, The Internet. Let me start at the beginning . . .
Once upon a time, there was a girl called Cammie. She was generally quite good at things at school, working hard and keen on doing well. She had a rebellious streak, in that she smoked fags and kissed boys and drank too much cider, but as a whole, she was a pretty good kid.
She wasn’t one for trying to be cool, but by not trying to be cool, she probably came across a bit like she was trying to be cool. She wore tight trousers and band t-shirts when the other girls were wearing short skirts and low-cut tops. She didn’t have many close friendships. Instead, she sat around talking about music with boys, rather than gossip sessions with the girls. All in all, she got through her teenage years without too much trouble; girls found her a bit intimidating, boys probably did too. All she wanted was a bit of peace and quiet. With three older sisters at home, leaving the house was like a holiday, and she didn’t want to fill that time with too many people, so she generally kept herself to herself.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, Cammie is me. Here is how the story goes on . . .
I left school, went to uni, and studied English. I was one of those people who read everything on the course modules. I was never without a book, and I had a freakish tendency to read multiple newspapers a day from cover to cover. Why? Because I knew that I had to be a writer. I knew I had to absorb words to be good at it. It was the only way that I was ever going to get the billions of thoughts and opinions that were in my head, out. In a way that anyone would understand. Because socially, I really sucked.
I did what all aspiring writers did back then, and I wrote pages and pages of articles, printed them off and sent them to editors in yellow envelopes. I never got any replies. Then, this amazing thing happened . . . they called it email. Suddenly I could send my work as attachments to emails, so I did that, but still, I never got any replies. And then I read an article about this little-known hobby that they were calling ‘blogging’. This woman was blogging about her family. Her husband was a photographer, she was beautiful, their kids were cute and their dog was fluffy. So every day, she got her husband to take an adorable picture and she posted it with a note about what they did that day. It was kind of sickening if I am honest, not my thing at all. But then I read that 30,000 people checked in every single day to read what she had to say. And I knew this was the answer for me.
So, Reader, I married him! By him, I mean, the Internet. And by married, I mean I built a website. And then, we started making babies. (You get the picture by now. By babies, I mean writing blogs.)
I found my voice online and that helped me find my voice inside. I wrote and wrote, and every day without fail, I posted something. Whether it was something I was feeling, or a reaction to some- thing in the news. And then, I made everyone I knew read it. I had flyers printed that I put on cars and through letterboxes. I emailed the link to every editor of every paper and magazine, and I posted the link on thousands of people’s MySpace pages. It became my life; it became an addiction. If I wasn’t writing, I was promoting. I didn’t need editors of newspapers to notice me, I was getting an audience all of my own. And look at me now. I have one of the longest running lifestyle blogs in the UK. HowItIs.com started sixteen years ago next week and it’s still going strong. Over half a million people read my blogs each day; that’s a bigger readership than most print publications.
I’m telling this story for anyone who has a voice but doesn’t know how to get it heard. You don’t have to be a social butterfly, you don’t have to be charming, overly confident, beautiful or thin. All you need to have is something to say.
The Internet is the love of my life, because it allows me to be who I want to be. Words that would get stuck in my mouth tumble out of my fingertips with total ease. I’m not sure what I would have become if I didn’t have this as an outlet. And you know the best bit? I can connect with hundreds of thousands of people every single day, without even having to say a word. So go for it, post your feelings online. Even if no one reads it now, there is a little piece of you out there that will last forever, it’s kinda magical!
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