The Cows (Don’t follow the herd) by Dawn O’Porter

Opening sentence: ‘Cow: A fully grown female animal of a domesticated breed of cattle used as a source of milk or beef.’

This was an audiobook listen for me. There are three main characters, each narrated by a different woman, including Dawn O’Porter. We follow the lives of Tara Thomas, a documentary maker who becomes an unintentional internet sensation; Camilla Stacey, lifestyle blogger of howitis.com, who regularly posts her thoughts and feelings for her myriad followers and Stella Davies, a lone identical twin who has serious (mental and physical) health issues to deal with. Three very different women whose lives become – over the course of the book – entangled.

This was very easy to listen to, as you didn’t loose your place in the linear plot, however, I felt it was about a 1/4 longer than it needed to be. The characters’ thoughts and actions felt a little repetitive at times, especially as I could see a majority of the pivotal plot points coming, so just kind of wanted the characters to get there quicker.

Tara is by far the most likeable character, while Stella is not all bad, but definitely on the other end of the scale. I’m not sure if Camilla was intentionally written to be smug and annoying? It was never quite clear if we were meant to take her outpourings (in the form of blog posts) as feminist-positive rally cries or as the patronising posts of a conceited woman. My opinion veered throughout the book.

There was a nice feminist tone throughout, this being the story of three women who don’t follow the herd and carve out their own lives, even if the ending did manage to simultaneously leave loose ends, while conveniently tying others up way too neatly…

Saying that, this is a great read if you just want to tune out for a while, enjoy a little bit of escapism – maybe while you’re commuting, like me – and have the odd chuckle now and then. As my friend put it when I was discussing this book with her, “an entertaining read but no literary masterpiece.’ Quite. Although I do have to say, it has a great cover!

Rating: 3/5

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