The Cows by Dawn O'Porter is published in hardback by HarperCollins, priced £14.99 (ebook £5.99). Available now
Whilst feminism is widely celebrated, in the age of social media, there is still overwhelming pressure on women to be perfect. So the first novel for adults from columnist and documentary-maker Dawn O'Porter is definitely much needed. The Cows is about three women; Tara, Stella and Cam. Through chance and the power of the internet, their stories meet and intertwine. Stella has lost both her mother and twin sister to cancer and has been told she may be unable to have children. Cam is a lifestyle blogger who promotes independence and childlessness, while Tara is a mother who becomes an online viral sensation when she is filmed masturbating on a train when she thought she was alone. Each of the women wrestle with their own desires whilst shouldering the weight of expectations placed on them by their families, society and themselves. Tara's storyline undoubtedly steals the spotlight - the way in which her sexuality is exploited and examined by the media is excruciating and sadly all too believable. It is a true testament to O'Porter's writing prowess that she is able to tackle these controversial subjects and turn them into symbols of empowerment. You'll only wish there was more of it to devour. A truly funny, important and fearless novel. Don't follow the herd.
(Review by Erin Bateman)