Now, if you’ve never heard of Dawn O’Porter, she’s a British writer and TV personality.
Married to Emmy -winning Hollywood star Chris O’Dowd ( he was in the IT crowd, Get shorty, Bridesmaids), she’s 41, mother of two boys and lives in Los Angeles if you are interested in that sort of detail.
And yes, when she married she just added the O in O’ Dowd to her own name to become O’Porter, which I personally love.
This is one of those books that is been meaning to read for a while but was worried it might be a let down or be a bit triggering due to its subject matter.
There are a few reasons for that which I’ll explain.
I’ve long been an admirer of Dawn O’Porter – I’ve followed her career with interest since decades past when we both applied for the same TV job – she got it, I didn’t even get a reply and since then she rightly shot to fame.
Since then also acquired the career as novelist I always wanted so I find her inspiring.
Not to mention she has fantastic hair (her hallmark bouncy bob) and a great sense of humour.
She’s one of those people you would love to have a best mate. Yes, I probably have a girl crush.
I follow her on Instagram (her handle is @hotapooties ) and love that she says what she thinks without filter on the most filtered social media of them all. She great. And I didn’t want to read her debut adult novel book and NOT enjoy it.
On that front I didn’t need to worry.
This particular novel also discusses the issue of mother and not mothers and the decisions and issues around that – something I’m a tiny bit sensitive around as I was sadly not able to have children and get irritated by the quiet judgement and pity that comes with that. (I’m fine).
But again, I was stupid think this would not executed with wisdom and intelligence.
The Cows is not a new release and published in around 2016 (I paid two quid on Kindle I think) and it’s brilliant. I read it in a couple of very satisfying lock-down non- guilty reading sessions.
It’s honest, cathartic, shocking and definitely rude in places – it says all those things we women are thinking and so much more.
It tackles the issues of feminism in the age of social media in a head-on realistic shocking way – the contradictions and the way in which women are so very hard on themselves and each other. It goes there – put it that way – this is not a story for a prude.
The story follows four woman negotiating modern womanhood and motherhood with its expectations and prejudices, including their own.
There’s Tara, successful documentary film-maker who got pregnant on a one night stand and now a single mum – who struggles to fit in with the mums at the school gate, desperately needs love and then one night on a train it all goes horribly, humiliatingly, wrong.
Then there is Cam, a lifestyle blogger who has made a fortune via her opinions of life – she’s not scared to shock. But when she writes a post about not wanting children she finds herself at the end of a nasty campaign by one woman in particular.
Then there is mixed-up Stella, who lost her twin sister to cancer and carries the BRCA gene herself. But newly single and facing life without kids she makes some drastic and very skewed decisions.
Then Tara’s friend Sophie, who has reinvented herself and her past for life with a man with money.
The plot sees them all touch other’s lives and the fallout that brings.
Honestly I was surprised by this novel.
And it’s not just for the millennial crowd.
Any woman who is a mother or not a mother should read this.
If you’ve read or written a nasty or judgemental comment of someone else social feed you should read this.
It’s an eye opener – will make you feel uncomfortable read in places but is ultimately a celebration of the power of woman.
I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I put it down.
I’ll definitely be reading her more recent work too.
You can find The Cows in all the usual places.
*The review was also used on BBC Radio Lancashire during the show.