Cover Image: Animal


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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury for giving me an ARC of this book. I’d been seeing it on my dashboard, hearing about it online - at some point, I just had to give in and request it. I was intrigued by the cover and the blurb. I really really liked the opening chapter. The voice was distinct. So many details and descriptions that bring the story to life were present. But then when I got to the following chapters, it got confusing. Chapter 2 in particular felt like a different story altogether, even voice-wise. This is purely subjective, but I found the narrative hard to follow. Having said that, I still think that the writing is impeccable. The author clearly has done her research and put a lot of time and heart into this book. In the end, I think it just wasn’t for me. But I do believe that the praise that it already gets is justified.
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‘Animal’ -Lisa Taddeo 
⚠️ Child abduction, Physical and mental Abuse, Rape, Murder, Suicide, Graphic sexual descriptions, Mental illness, child sacrifice, Abortion, Self harm, Still birth and infant fatality ⚠️ 

Please be advised: this is an entirely gritty, dark and scintillatingly depraved novel that is expertly written but has the unique potential to be incredibly triggering on almost every page.

YES LISA TADDEO. This is exactly the type of bold literature I wanted to read. It’s unapologetic and viscerally raw; depicting the fallout from a male dominated society. 

I found the narrative of Joan utterly engrossing and spellbindingly compelling. Victim, instigator, purpertrator, exploiter; she manifests and embodies a range of facades through her unadulterated rage, brought upon by a relentless cycle of continued abuse. A complex protagonist (to say the least) her provocative nature made this book addictive. In particular, the representation of fragmented cohesion to reflect Joan’s often conflicted and wandering mind, I found to be bone-chillingly brilliant. 

A strong contender for my favourite book of the year, no doubt. This one will stay with me for a LONG time. 

A huge thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing, Lisa Taddeo and NetGalley for this eARC.
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1.5 rounded up

Sigh. Where to start... having absolutely loved Three Women and enjoyed the extract of this that I'd read I was certain this would be one of my top reads of the year -- it was definitely one of my most anticipated, but ended up being a huge letdown.

Instead I'm sorry to say that I found this to be almost instantly forgettable and an utter slog to get through and it feels like I read a different book to everyone else! The protagonist, Joan, is in her late 30s and has recently relocated from NYC to LA after a violent incident involving someone she was having an affair with. On arrival in LA she seems to hurtle between meaningless encounters (both sexual and non-sexual) without rhyme or reason. She has clearly been damaged by the death of her parents when she was young and other events which have taken place since, but the way the novel was written made me feel totally disconnected from what was happening - I think some of this was likely intentional on the part of the author, but it's an instant turn off from the perspective of this reader. There is a clear theme of violence against women and its link to Joan's anger and subsequent actions, but I just didn't feel at all invested in the outcome of events in the plot because of the endless pages of dialogue and encounters which felt (to me) like they contributed nothing to the overall story. 

I am more than happy to admit that there's something I missed here as most of the reviews so far are rave ones, but suffice it to say that this novel was not my cup of tea at all.
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Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruel acts of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child—that has haunted her every waking moment—while forging the power to finally strike back.

Taddeo’s writing is heart-piercing. While reading, I often had to stop and take in some of the passages that although utterly horrific rang incredibly true. Things I would never dare say out loud! (Or would I have the courage to let anyone know I actually thought it). Joan is a broken brave soul on a journey for redemption for the crimes she expérienced simply because she was born. 

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
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Unforgettable, uncomfortable and utterly absorbing. I can't say this was an easy or particularly enjoyable read, but it that broke my heart again and again and leaves you with an incredible compassion for a woman you don't even know.
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Sadly I wasn't the right reader for this book as I was unable to engage with the main character and I found myself skimming through.. However, I'm sure fans of Three Women will find much here to enjoy as the writing style and themes have a similar vibe.
Many thanks to the author, publisher and Net Galley for the opportunity to read an advance copy.
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I found this book to be really dark and quite disturbing at times, while you know Joan has been through so much in her life I couldn’t take to her at all, I just didn’t like her, I found the story really hard to follow at times, she jumps about in her narative a lot! It took a while to find out who Alice is but I got that I really didn’t care. It’s very well written but really not for me at all, I’m sorry. 
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy.
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I appreciated the intent of this book and the way it shows us a woman scarred by trauma and filled with rage, but the even, flat prose doesn't seem to track with the contents of the book. I can see that Joan is fighting a crushing sense of social and self- alienation but the voice is so even, a kind of literary monotone, that I was always detached from the story being told. 

There are some bold and shocking moves in the book, and a long-awaited reckoning with a generalised culture which is so complicit with violence against women from rape to objectification. But the thriller technique of making us wait almost to the end of the book to find out what happened That Day that functions as causality and as a key to Joan's psyche just went on far too long for my taste and some judicious editing might have tautened up the whole story.

Likely to be a somewhat divisive book and worth reading for precisely that reason.
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I don’t really feel like I’m reviewing a book. More of an artistic masterpiece. This is exquisite, written so perfectly, with enough of everything (character development, depth and motive) that reading this is a luxury that doesn’t come up as an opportunity often.

I was completely blown away by this book and will be re reading it again soon.

Destined for awards.
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You will never forget Joan. Her words will cut through your thin skin and slice your heart into bloody red ribbons of pain, horror and compassion. Animal is a story created in trauma and drenched in female rage. The brutality of the words might offend at times but they need to be heard.

When Joan witnesses her lover's death she leaves New York for Los Angeles. She is on a mission to find someone but we don't know who or why yet. Disturbed and thinking herself depraved Joan appears to be on a path of self destruction and settles into a stifling apartment in the Santa Monica mountains. Here surrounded by unrelenting heat and the cries of coyotes, she thinks she will find all the answers to her life. Bur someone is looking for her too. 

We learn about her relationships with her parents and men through two timelines, the present and the past. The prose is stunning in both settings and makes for a compelling read. Some lines so unique and gorgeous that they take your breath away and make you pause in reflection. Lisa is a magnificent writer whose powerful words seem to burn the page.

Highly Recommended.
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I can see that this is a well written book and I felt that I ought to appreciate it. But I didn't. I just couldn't relate to the narrator. I felt too detached somehow and the book was just too dark for my taste.
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Wow, this book was dark and disturbing and at times confusing. It really transports you into the headspace of Joan, and while at times you might not like her, by the end you will just want to hug her. You get a real sense of Joan's thoughts, feelings, wants and desires- Lisa is an absolute marvel of a writer. I found parts of the story difficult to follow (a jumble of thoughts and reflections rather like my own mind!) and you had to stay invested in the story for it all to unravel and make sense of why Joan behaves like she does. Definitely a book I will read twice.
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Up until 75% I felt very detached and indifferent about this book. I know the past of the protagonist was meant to be mysterious and revealed slowly but i don’t think it had the intended affect on me as i didn’t care too much and felt disorientated if anything. After 75% thing finally start to make sense and I started to enjoying. I also started to appreciate the plot as a whole. 

I usually love depraved, emotional, traumatised protagonists but I didn’t love this one. There are also some heavy subject matters and gruesome
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I requested to read this book as I discovered Taddeo's work by reading her non fiction book, Three Women.  This is her first novel.  It certainly packs a punch from the first page.  We meet Joan who seems to have a thing for married men.  She does have a troubled past, she was orphaned as a child, but you don't find out how until later in the book.

It does flit between different time frames as she reminisces about her past and the current time. Due to one of her lovers shooting himself in front of her, she decides to leave New York and head to Los Angeles to seek out Alice. As the story progresses we find out who Alice is.

The book certainly packs a punch.
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Animal by Lisa Taddeo.
This novel starts off at a blistering pace and I was hooked from the off. But despite being well written, interesting and a good premise I found the book to be quite disturbing. There are many triggers in this book and will affect many readers. It is an uncomfortable read and ultimately I struggled to finish it.
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Joan is depraved and I love her. I highlighted so many passages in this book! Raw and visceral are words I've seen used to describe it. They are apt. One thing is for sure - Lisa Taddeo can write like a mofo. She knows how to get under your skin. She knows how to flay you alive. "Animal" is a story steeped in trauma and marinated in female rage. It has all the makings of a cult classic. I didn't know anything going in, so I don't want to give spoilers. Joan is the epitome of a complex character. I found Alice's perspective really interesting, with her detached and astute observation. So many times I rolled my eyes and thought, "why are men such trash?" There are some really horrifying sections in the book which will stay with me, and some parts where I laughed (probably inappropriately) e.g. I found some of Vic's wife's rants hilarious. It's a book about how what happens to us as children shapes us in adulthood though in all honesty, "Animal" feels like so much more than a book. It's an incredible piece of work.
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Very good. Tough and frank and should definitely appeal to those, like me, who loved Three Women. Fascinating to see where she goes next.
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Interesting concept that was a compelling and sexy read but unsure about how to feel about the characters and therefore struggled to understand what it was really about.
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Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Oooh my, this was one of those books that I had to split through several sittings, not because it wasn’t gorgeous and tempting and rich with colour and taste but because sitting in someone’s mind and slowly witnessing them turn from prey to predator in this male dominated world was so fresh and raw and dark as hell it spun me out.
Taddeo’s writing is mesmerising, her fiction debut is a fucking masterpiece.

Trigger warnings: rape, sexual assault, miscarriage, paedophilia, car crash, drug abuse and suicide. 
Synopsis –
‘Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruel acts of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child—that has haunted her every waking moment—while forging the power to finally strike back.’
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I feel about Animal the same I felt about Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women - I liked it a lot and I know everyone will be talking about it, but I didn’t love it as much as I expected.

This is very much my kind of thing. Animal is the story of a messy millennial woman struggling to understand her life and her relationships. It’s very very dark - themes of suicide, murder, sexual assault, rape, miscarriage and death are very prevalent.  

It’s also my kind of thing because it’s one of those “hard to describe/not much really happens” books. We follow Joan, who moves to California after her lover shoots himself in front of her after he finds her having dinner with another man.

And from there we follow Joan in California in her messy life, recounting her past and her present, and the traumas of her life. It’s incredibly dark but very compelling, I found myself not wanting to put this down.

It’s very hard to define and review and describe but I was definitely compelled. 4 stars
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