Cover Image: Animal

Animal

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Member Reviews

This was a tough read but a good one. I was hooked on the story right away, but found myself wanting more from the ending. Still a fantastic read -- one that we'll recommend to our readers.
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Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced copy. 

This is a tough book. Many, many trigger warnings but very well written. This will not be for everyone so proceed with caution.
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I was so excited to read Animal by Lisa Taddeo, but this book was not for me. I ended up DNFing. Thank you to Avid Reader Press/Simon and Schuster for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
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What a ride. With Animal, Lisa Taddeo has clawed into the dark depths that accompany living as a woman in 2021. Raw and visceral.
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A very well written book.   It was hard for me to get through at times.  Not appropriate content for high school students.
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I really loves Lisa Taddeo's nonfiction book Three Women, so I was looking forward to reading her novel Animal. It did not disappoint. The book grips you from the very first chapter and I read it in two sittings. After a shocking incident at the beginning of the book, our protagonist Joan flees New York City to move across country on a journey of self-discovery. She tries to deal with the rage she has toward the men and their cruelty she has experienced in her life. A very dark book, but uplifting at the same time.
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Three Women was one of my absolute favorite books of 2018, but Taddeo's dip into fiction just wasn't as exciting to me. There were parts of this story I really enjoyed.
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DNF. There is a major difference between showing characters that are on the ‘outskirts’  of society in terms of how they act versus how we are conditioned to act or express trauma and just plain cruelness. The main character’s attitudes, ableist language, and the completely unnecessary use of the N-word from a white author made this book absurd and I absolutely did not and will not finish it. This  needed major editing, There is nothing fresh or interesting or nuanced about the choices made when publishing this book. Hard pass.
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Thank you to Avid Reader Press and NetGalley for the ARC of this ebook..

I read this book a couple of months ago and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to say in my review.  It was a difficult book to read.  I didn’t like any of the characters and especially the main character.  I struggle with books where that is the case.  I couldn’t relate to her in any way.  She seemed to focus on trauma and was highly emotional.  I thought it took a long time for the story to make sense and then I wasn’t sure it was worth the wait.  I felt that the plot was weak and strung out through the book.
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I really liked Three Women, but had a difficult time getting into this book. I totally understand why this book is receiving so much praise—I, too, often love a slightly off tone coupled with an angry, unlikeable female narrator—but Animal and Joan didn’t do it for me. I think I felt too out of the loop for too long, and the book ultimately didn’t have the momentum or ending I hoped for. I’ll still pick up Taddeo’s next book, but this one wasn’t for me!
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This was a much hyped book for me and Taddeo's first foray into fiction. If you like books by Ottessa Moshfegh I feel like this book will be up your alley. Told as a story to an unknown at start 'you', the main character Joan drops hints at the traumas she experienced as a child and an adult as she seeks out the mysterious Alice. This book starts with a bang and keeps you hooked until the end. While the twists were somewhat easy to guess there was more to keep you on your toes.
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Wow! Just wow. I loved this one ALOT. Gritty, unsettling, trigger-warnings galore but oh so good. This completely compelling story of Joan, a damaged young woman taking back some kind of power, had a California-noir vibe, and is full of rage. At times a victim, at times she is cruel and almost always making terrible decisions. I love Lisa Taddeo’s writing so much, it creeps under my skin. I love how my every sense felt assaulted, every aroma she describes, every gruesome event, so real. Dark, dirty and brilliant.
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Lisa Taddeo writes about the female psyche better than anyone. Animal is dark and brutal, even gruesome at times. I couldn’t stop reading it.

I loved Three Women, Taddeo’s debut nonfiction, and was worried that her fiction wouldn’t resonate with me as much, but her sharp takes on male power, the use of female sexuality, and how society views it all comes through in many of the same ways.
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This book portrays a very difficult journey of anger, abuse, and trauma that is very eye-opening to read. Joan is a character who has witnessed the worst things life can create, written in a blunt and strategic way so that you can see how her mind operates. This story is powerful. Tragic and frightening, but powerful.
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what was this? I don't even know how to categorize it. I didn't hate it but I definitely didn't love it. The writing felt too stream of consciousness at times and I couldn't get behind the terrible protagonist. Ultimately I think just...not the book for me.
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This book was DARK and had an absolutely fascinating premise, similarly to Taddeo's last book. Unfortunately, my feelings were also similar in that I wanted to know SO much more about Joan. Yes she is unlikeable a lot of the time, and I'm okay with that, but she just felt a little bit far away. I still really enjoyed the ride though and am glad to have read it!
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I read Lisa Taddeo's nonfiction debut Three Women shortly after it was published. I thought it was great. I was curious when I saw she was publishing a work of fiction and immediately requested it. What I read was nothing like what I expected. 

Before I start my review, I want to note that if you are sensitive to any triggers, you may want to avoid this book. I mean any trigger ever. This book has them all and does not touch on anything lightly. 

Animal is Taddeo's fiction debut that examines the visceral rage ignited by one woman's experience living in a male-dominated world. This book is like nothing I have ever read before. If I had to describe Animal in two words, they would be "dark" and "depraved." 

Summarizing this book is extremely difficult without giving anything away. I think it is good to go into the book expecting triggers and craziness but knowing nothing of the plot. Joan, the main character, has a textbook Electra complex (female equivalent of Oedius complex) that Freud would go ga-ga over. This woman will not shut up about about her dead father or sex. Her mind goes straight there when encountering anything and everything. Be prepared for that and know that if you are going to like this book, you have to stick with it until the end, for better or worse. The first 15 percent or so I was groaning and annoyed, but I wanted to know where this was going and it paid off.

Animal is written as a stream of consciousness, which initially drove me crazy, but as I read on, I found that I did not mind it at all. It simply took some time getting used to. I will say that Taddeo's writing in this book is pretentious to the max and clearly she was aiming to win all the literary awards with this book. It is a bit obnoxious and unnecessary. In addition, every event and action in this book is excessive and over the top. I will let you qualify if that is a positive or negative. Also be warned that she continues the pretentiousness and tries to have an evocative "style" by not including quotation marks. (You are not Nadine Gordimer; stop trying to be.)

I have seen some people call this book torture porn, and I would argue that it definitely is not. For one, there are positive events and growth. And most importantly, the events in this book serve an overall purpose and create the point that Taddeo is aiming to communicate, which I will let you discover for yourselves. I do think that Taddeo could have achieved the same things without triggering every person who reads it and calling everything rape, except actual rape which she calls sexual assault (seriously.) But I have to admit that it was completely effective in evoking feelings and thought.

So after all this, you may be wondering how I felt about this book. There is definitely a lot to unpack, and I had to really think about this book after I finished it. Ultimately, I liked Animal. It made me think a lot and feel a bit too. Would I recommend it to everyone? Absolutely not. There are a lot of people that will (or do) hate this book. It is without a doubt divisive and not for everyone. If you need the protagonist to be likeable, skip this book. If you have triggers, skip this book. But if you are looking for something different that is a commentary on America and women, you may want to take a dive into Animal.
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This book was a lot. It was intense from the start. I was captivated and also appalled of Joan's story. She was a difficult character that had been through so much trauma and always found herself in unfortunate circumstances.

While this book is really good, I'm not sure I'd recommend it to just anyone. You need to know going in to this book that you have to be tough to read it.

TW (and possible spoiler alert):
miscarriage/pregnancy loss (and many others, you can DM me for more) 

If you are part of the worst club in the world, the one nobody wants to be apart of like I am, please consider the TW before reading. I didn't know of this and even if I did, I still probably would have read it because I've had almost two years of healing from my miscarriage (not that it ever gets easier, it doesn't). But the description of the pregnancy loss in this book as well as the discardment of the fetus was repulsive and Joan was so insensitive to the entire situation. I cried and cried over that scene, unfortunately that will probably be a scene that always sticks with me. 

Overall, the writing was well done and I was very engaged in this heartbreaking story. Read at your own risk 🤍
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Well, I can’t win them all!

This book was really hard for me to get into. I’ve read reviews of readers loving this story, but I had a really hard time wanting to pick this up each day. Maybe it was timing for me, maybe it was the content of the story, but it was a lot to handle.

Content warnings: abuse, trauma, ableism, murder, suicide, miscarriage.

This is a story filled with numerous wild episodes from Joan's life. Some disturbing, some sexual, but all tend to show her as a self-centered, home wrecking human from the jump. She introduces herself as depraved, which never left my mind the entire book. 

There is a lot to take from this book because there’s a lot happening, and despite this story not being for me, Joan sees herself as the monster of the story, or animal if you will. She is convinced she deserves all that she receives due to the choices she makes. 

I felt weird, but also sad and angry that these extremes do exist in real life. Joan just wanted to be heard, unleashing her inner animal which I think each woman has related to before.

Big thank you to Libro FM and Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster for the ARC!!
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The main character was very hard for me to relate to. In fact, none of the characters were especially appealing to me. They did all manifest a sort of depraved reality that was at times confusing, yet eye-opening.

Thanks to NetGalley and Avid Reader Press for the ARC to read and review.
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