ContemporaryAnimal by Lisa Taddeo

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

JOINT REVIEW

I loved @lisadtaddeo’s previous book, Three Women and was hooked from the first sentence. Animal was different — it took me a good few days to get past pg 42.

Animal is the story of Joan who has experienced a shocking level of trauma in life. After one man commits an act of horrifying violence in front of her, she moves to LA, in search of Alice, marking the start of her journey through the cruelty of her past.

This book is graphic in every sense and it may well shock you. There are parts of the writing that are brilliant and once I made it past 42, I devoured it. But, overall, Animal just didn’t do it for me. Joan intrigued me as a character yet I felt she lacked complexity and depth. For me, the ultimate novel gives the reader the space to develop their own thoughts and visions of what they’re reading. I just didn’t get that with this.

Animal has aptly been described as a Marmite book. Many have loved it. Even if it’s not for you, I’m certain you’ll think about it long after you’ve put it down.

~ Sophie

I absolutely LOVED this book from beginning to end. I feel that Animal; which requires all the trigger warnings, encapsulates so much of what I feel about how society infantilises women and them demonises those that act with anger against the violence they face. Just look at the reaction to the Sarah Everad protests.

Unlike Sophie, I found Joan multifaceted and I raced through this book in two sittings. The different men portrayed, the way they saw a pretty, vulnerable girl and reduced her was compelling, and I loved the incremental build up, revealing who Joan is looking for and why.

The focus on depravity, on sexualisation, on the “small rapes” women go through every day was thought provoking, the prose abrasive and no holds barred. There is a surrealist element to the writing which gave a further depth. I just wanted to give Joan a hug, her devastating observations made me love her regardless of her actions. This is one of the books to read of 2021 without doubt. Thank you so much @midaspublicrelationsfor our proof copy.

~ Chaya

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