I didn´t know anything about the author or this novel when I first got aware of it. But the cover was literally calling my name and with that summary, I simply had to have and read it. Although I was not sure what to expect. Some parts of this novel made me shake my head. While others made me laugh. All in all, I think this novel shows perfectly how women act (good and bad) and can behave if challenged.

Cows-Folge Nicht Der Herde*
by Dawn O´Porter
Translation Christine Strüh
Original Title The Cows-Don´t Follow The Herd
Publisher S. Fischer on February 27, 2019
Genre Novel
Pages 459
Format Paperback
Source Publisher

What to do when the whole world laughs at you? Full speed ahead! And do not apologize. Tara is 42, working and single parent. She has the three oversized egos of her colleagues under control, and the disparaging looks of the mothers at the school gate do not prepare her sleepless nights. As a hair-raising misstep by Tara makes the self-confident single-mum the laughing stock of the nation, unexpectedly two accomplices jump to her side. (personal translation of the German back text by ©Vi at Inkvotary) 
Tara is a single mum. She loves her job though her boss is a real dick and does everything to show her that she could be much better if she´d be a man. Her daughter is her everything, and yet, Tara often feels guilty. She can´t give her daughter a father, and though her daughter would love her to be a stay-at-home mum, Tara needs her job to pay the bills and to give her daughter home. All that is at stake when Tara does something on her way back home – a little moment of weakness - and refuses to apologize. From that moment on, her life is turned upside down. 

This novel is for sure nothing I´ve ever read before. And for sure nothing I´ve expected. There are moments in here where you want to scream because of all the stupid things some figures do or say. And then there are situations where you start thinking “how would I have reacted?” Everyone knows that women have to live by completely different rules than men. And though society isn´t talking about it very often, a woman who hasn´t birthed a child is either not a “real woman” or “something must be wrong with her” if she chooses to not become children. No matter what her reasons are. Society just can´t accept that not every woman hears the call of nature. In British society, at least the one in this book, this dilemma, or should I better say stigma, is shown in a way where the typical black humor is wonderfully combined with some dry, hilarious, and absolutely shocking scenes. Yes, I´ve read some scenes where I thought WTF is going on here or is the author serious? Because some behavior, from men as well as from women, was absolutely marginal. And how prude some people are. Holy smokes!

Dawn O´Porter´s writing style is a bit dry, simple, and offers only a few really shocking moments or surprises. And still, I was well entertained. Good, I wouldn´t call this novel a page-turner or a book that made me jump off my seat while reading, but the dry humor, the often-awkward scenes, and the way how three women deal with their every-day-life were quite impressive. The reader gets a great insight into the life and thinking of three women who do everything necessary to see their dream fulfilled. And it was absolutely satisfying to see how things turned out in the end.

Three very different women are presented. Tara the single mum, Cam the blogger who isn´t able to have a normal social life and Stella who wants a baby but faces some huge medical changes. All three are connected in a very unusual way. Tara learns first hand how it feels when an entire nation is chasing and judging you because of something you did but don´t feel sorry for. And while she loses everything, Cam starts to feel how it can be if you, as a blogger with a huge follower number, write about something that isn´t what most women feel. I was very impressed and literally saluted to them, that they were sticking to what they believe in. No matter at what costs. 

This book is a merciless settlement with society as far as women are concerned. Men are allowed to do everything. To misbehave, to curse, to molest sexually – women have different rules. But god forbid when they don´t obey and turn things around. Many times, while reading, I had the feeling, that this sounds familiar, that that is EXACTLY what women or at least some, like to do or say when a situation like the one Tara got into, occurs. On the other hand, I was only shaking my head in disbelief while reading the one or the other scene I couldn´t really understand what all the fuss was about. And when I closed the book, I was flabbergasted, shocked, irritated, amused, unbelieving, and appalled. And damn proud to be a woman! I recommend this novel to every reader who likes to dunking into the female world.

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by S. Fischer in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

*Book originally published The Cows by Harper Collins on June 1, 2017 

Dawn O´Porter
Dawn O´Porter ©David Loftus

Dawn O´Porter is a novelist, columnist, and broadcaster who lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, sons Art and Valentine, cat Lilu and dog Potato. She has made numerous documentaries about all sorts of things: polygamy, childbirth, Geisha, body image, breast cancer and even the movie Dirty Dancing. She is the critically acclaimed author of Paper Aeroplanes and Goose. Dawn hosts and produces `Get it On´, a podcast where she interviews interesting people about why they wear what they wear. She also collects vintage clothing and admits to writing her best work when she is wearing a bonkers seventies dress and her hair is a voluminous bob. The Cows is her third novel and her third bestseller in England. In 2015 O´Porter founded “Help Refugees”, an organization dedicated to providing quick relief to refugees in Europe. 


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