Well, I can honestly say this harsh, stunning, stimulating work of the author is an intense punch to the gut and not for everyone’s cup of tea! It’s bold, it’s direct, it’s complex, it’s thought provoking and it’s truly disturbing!
It is about boiling anger restrained by the anti heroine for years of mental, physical abuse, neglect that drag her to form so much dysfunctional relationship patterns. At the end she makes so many worst choices which result with more self destructive, hurt and fury!
She slowly destroys her human self and let the animal takes the driver seat: because she’s sick of being a victim and she chooses to become hunter to let the despicable souls pay for what they’d done to the women.
It’s unique attempt empowered with feminism, a struggling and incredibly angry woman’s rising up and fighting back story!
I can give more than three stars after the effective opening freezes your blood: Joan : self destructive heroine, having hard time to adjust her new life in NY, trapped in a forbidden relationship with her sugar daddy/ married boss and as her relationship becomes more toxic, things get more out of control, resulting with the man’s suicide before her eyes.
She decides to make a clean slate by moving to L. A. : the real reason behind her moving decision is finding Alice she has known from her childhood and she’s fixated on her as her life is depending on reconnecting with her again.
But changing her location brings out buried ugly feelings from her and slowly she lets her inner animal walk out free and inner change turns her into vicious avenger who is targeting the men to compensate years of neglect and abuse she’s been suffering!
The idea is great but Joan was one of the most unlikable heroine who is not easily to resonate with. I tried so hard to empathize with her problems but she’s so hard to get invested.
Writing style was direct but the emotional depth and after effects of the mind blowing incidents were missing. The dark sarcastic tone of narration makes you question if the heroine told you the truth that she wasn’t a sociopath.
Lack of connection with the main character prevented me to get more invested in this story. But it was still fresh fiction start from Three Women’s author. I’m still looking forward to read more of her future works!
Special thanks to NetGalley and Avid Reader/ Simon& Schuster for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Joan is not an easy character to like but as a woman her rage is understandable. Sick of a world that is male dominated where women are treated badly Joan unleashes her rage. Joan had not had an easy life, plagued by death and heartbreak and now it seems like murder is her only option. Much like her first book, which was nonfiction, “Three Women”, Taddeo seems determined to make the world look at the feminine experience and really analyze the world we live in. An excellent fiction debut!
Whew. Powerful. Predator vs Prey is the main theme in this incredible novel. I found this book disturbing and complex and rich in the author’s description of sexual violence and how it alters a woman’s life. I don’t want to give away the plot or the techniques the author uses in switching from 1st to 2nd person - know that it’s rich and thoughtful and violent and will leave you thinking / this one will stay with me. You should read it.
Thank you to Avid Reader Press and Simon and Schuster for this magnificent novel. I’m grateful.
This book was not for me. I detested the main character Joan. I really didn't connect to her and just found her kinda awful. I found many of the scenes disgusting and difficult to read. I know that this was really the author's intent but, I believe books should also provide some sort of pleasure and enjoyment. This book gave none of that to me. I really just couldn't wait for it to be over. The book dragged in many places only to be somewhat thrown together at the end.
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to Avid Reader Press and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review.
This book was a wild ride! I don't know that saying I enjoyed it is the right thing to say, but I certainly could not stop reading it. However, I don't know exactly how compelling the characters are -- the things that kept me reading are the information that is hidden until the end of the book.
We have Joan who has had disastrous things happen to her that seem to have affected her whole life, as trauma does. She witnesses a violent act that was committed because of her and then travels to California to find a woman called Alice who is connected to her in ways only she knows. Joan is very obviously not "likable," delivering harsh truths about her own behavior and condemning it as she does so in a detached voice that is both disturbing and intriguing. At the same time, she is clearly this beautiful white woman who seems to get away with literally anything -- not unscathed, but she does survive.
That is where I struggle here -- the story itself is compelling because there are so many blanks in the background that are dark and gruesome that you want to know, but I don't know what exactly the story is trying to show me. It's graphic in every way you can imagine, featuring on-the-page suicide, rape, assault of a child, murder, and miscarriage. And it's all delivered in this clinical fashion that seems to contradict Joan's early assertion that she is not a psychopath.
This is a 3 stars for me. I don't know that I'll recommend it to other people but also I want someone else to read it so we can talk about it.
Thank you so much to Avid Reader Press, Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.
I was so excited to get the ARC of this book by Lisa Taddeo, because I loved her first book sooo much and she doesn't disappoint in this one.
This book is about what happens to females in a male-dominated society and THE RAGE OF AN EMPOWERED FEMALE! Thank you to author Lisa Taddeo for writing another great book. I can't wait to see what she writes next.
I recommend this book to everyone, including the MEN out there that who are bad, bad, bad. Maybe they will think twice next time they hurt us! Just kidding. Awesome book for men and women. 5 stars!
This book was equal parts difficult and absorbing to read. It was a strange reading experience where I felt extreme discomfort in parts but at the same time could not put the book down. Some sections felt as if they were included purely to show off Lisa's writing chops instead of to advance the narrative. She is a phenomenal writer and I continue to be intrigued by everything she publishes.
Wow! I went into this book blind, and I was blown away! Animal is one of the most powerful reads that I have seen in a long time. She touches some of the most sensitive issues with so much ferocity.
This book is heavy, triggering, real, and raw. a book about sex, want, lust, affairs and toxic relationships. Our protagonist(?) Joan has been through a lot and as a result, she's become somewhat of a villain herself, making it sometimes hard to empathize with her. When we meet her at age 37 she is at a crossroads of leaving behind the life she has had in NYC, and moving forward to reinvent herself in LA. ALL of the men in Joan's life have been predatory and not dependable and so have the women along with growing up in a turbulent home. This has clearly resulted in Joan's inclination towards violence, her lack of ability to forgive, and her permanent scars from men who have abused and taken advantage of her. Again, this book focuses on power and trauma and it is graphic. The author's words are powerful and perfectly chosen. She has carefully chosen her language and wants you to be uncomfortable when reading this book.The ending was amazingly done! I absolutely loved the ending and felt so much better after having read what Joan had gone through. It will stick with me for awhile. This was well written, with a seamless flow through past and present, and the character development was remarkable.
Trigger warnings: rape, sexual assault, miscarriage, and suicide.
Taddeo writes effortlessly with such confidence. I had plans in the afternoon but canceled them and just kept reading. Bold, shocking; fearless...so good.
After devouring Taddeo's debut non-fiction title Three Women that details the intimate lives of three women struggling to fully own their desire and sexuality, reading her first fictional novel was a no brainer for me. Taddeo is in a class of her own when it comes to writing about the female experience, particularly female sexual experience as she accomplishes this with such detailed perception, appreciation of nuance, and understanding and lack of judgement behind the life of an individual. Animal is no exception. Taddeo is so accomplished and writes unlike any contemporary writer I know. I really respect this as novel that goes to the places, find the words to articulate what others do not dare, or cannot execute.
In Animal we meet Joan, a young woman who escapes to the Topanga mountains to rebuild and reconnect with Alice: the only person who can fix her. We understand Joan in fragments, and in bursts. The narrative flips between present and past as we slowly uncover what has happened as Joan opens up to Alice. At times, the narrative feels chaotic, stressful, unsettling and suspicious. I love a book with an untrustworthy narrator, and this is certainly that. Although the plot continues to throw up one tragedy and then the other, I actually didn't really realize how on edge and tense I was throughout the entire read until the end; because finally at the end you can relax knowing there is no more pain as there are no more pages.
There is definitely a trigger warning needed for this book: if you are triggered by anything to do with suicide, rape, abuse, adultery, murder this book is not for you.
Joan's life has been invaded by repeated acts of violence, imposed upon her by significant men in her life. As she attempts to move on, it is apparent that these don't just haunt her, but that they are her. The trauma has shaped and moulded who she has grown up to become, and how she chooses to live now. The language is coarse, and raw, and bloody, as if nothing will make you realize we are all humans made from blood and guts more than this. I felt squeamish and sensitive, acutely aware of myself. It is a book about the vulnerability of being human, and about how the body can enact what sometimes the brain cannot process. It's about female rage, pain, and frustration and what happens when all of that is finally unleashed in the only way someone knows how.
Taddeo's writing style is completely unique, she has the words and the style to articulate the female experience in a way that feels completely revolutionary. But this is not an easy to read page turner. The plot is disjointed, violent and forceful, but the narrative and creation of Joan feels delicate, sad and full of understanding. This book definitely won't be for everyone, but there's definitely a particular readership who will thrive on and appreciate Animal for the power-punch of a novel it really is.
I was very impressed with and moved by Taddeo's first effort, which was a nonfiction exploration of the lives of three very different women. With her first fiction effort, I was disappointed. The main character Joan is an angry, depressed woman who is hell-bent on exacting revenge for the abuses and neglect she has suffered. She takes out her anger on unsuspecting individuals with which she has no emotional relationship. She pursues a woman who she presumes is her half-sister, and their reckoning doesn't take place until the last pages of the novel. Very creepy and sad work.
It’s very hard to find words for this book. “Masterful” comes to mind. Lisa Taddeo can write fiction, CONFIRMED.
The protagonist, Joan, is so unlikeable and fascinating that the only comparison is Ottessa Moshfegh’s characters. This is a story about a hurt woman who hurts and is hurt by men, and as we zeroed in on the events that started all of this, the downward spiral of her life, I found myself leaning in. So much ugliness in these pages, but it’s irresistible.
Trauma comes in many forms and impacts people in incredibly complex ways. Literature is full of both fictional and non-fictional depictions of trauma and its affects. Yet, it is still a topic that is fraught with stigma, denial, and shame.
Lisa Taddeo tackles trauma head-on in her devastating debut novel “Animal”. This should come as no surprise after her widely acclaimed 2019 non-fictional “Three Women”. I work closely with trauma victims of all ages. I hear their stories. I help them cope. I am not easily stirred. Still, I was unprepared for how “Animal” would impact me. It was a disturbing read.
Ms. Taddeo clearly knows what she is about. “Animal” reads like a true-fiction thriller. Every time you feel that you have now seen the depth of despair, you are welcome to take several more steps down into the abyss that Taddeo has prepared.
There will be those who will accuse “Animal” of being “trauma porn”. That it is not. It is true, plausible, and all too real. With that said, no reader should enter without forewarning. There are multiple scenes that can trigger the most hardened. But for those interested in the impact of trauma and the implications for recovery, read on. You are in for an unforgettable experience.
Thank you to Simon Schuster Avid Reader Press and NetGalley for the dARC.
I loved the book, with its dazzling representation of female rage and sharp, vivid writing. Fascinating characters and wonderful use of voice.
This book was very unsettling (and I mean that in a good way)! When Joan witnesses one of her "boyfriends" shoot himself in a restaurant, she flees to California in search of Alice, the only woman she thinks can make sense of her horrific childhood that has turned her into someone who allows herself to be used and denigrated by men. We get lots of her past stories, people she's met (mostly men), and hints about her relationship with her parents in a dysfunctional family. The writing provokes a very visceral reaction to many scenes so this is not a book you may want to read in a single sitting. I adored the ending and even though this book will haunt and resonate with me for a long time, I loved Taddeo's story of a woman who's had enough as prey and turns herself into hunter!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! No spoilers. Beyond amazing I enjoyed this book so very much. The characters and storyline were fantastic. The ending I did not see coming Could not put down nor did I want to. Truly Amazing and appreciated the whole story. This is going to be a must read for many many readers. Maybe even a book club pick.
While I didn’t like this novel I quite as much as I did Three Woman (my favorite book of 2019), this is still a thoroughly entertaining read and one that I would very much recommend. Its narrative goes into some really unexpected places and I praise it for its originality and unwillingness to fit with general novel conventions. The consistent time-jumping, over abundance of side characters, and unusual concept may push some away but those looking for a unique read will devour this.
While I agree with the idea of this book — the prey becoming the hunter — the narrative of this book is laid out much different than her previous book, Three Women. If one us looking for similar style, look elsewhere.
For me, the beginning was rough and only got tougher. Missed the mark for me on this one, but I loved her previous book.
This is a great book and a great follow up to three women. A woman who is been on the receiving end of mail toxicity decides she has enough. Her path from women to animal built on a lifetime of anger is stunning. I highly recommend this book