Author: Lisa Taddeo
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Publication date: 28 June 2021
Age group: Adult
Genres: Thriller, Contemporary Fiction
Honestly, sometimes I think it’s the only recourse. Killing men in times like these .
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.
Here is the electrifying debut novel from Lisa Taddeo, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Three Women, which was named to more than thirty best-of-the-year lists and hailed as “a dazzling achievement” (Los Angeles Times) and “a heartbreaking, gripping, astonishing masterpiece” (Esquire). Animal is a depiction of female rage at its rawest, and a visceral exploration of the fallout from a male-dominated society. With writing that scorches and mesmerizes, Taddeo illustrates one woman’s exhilarating transformation from prey into predator.
When the cover reveal for Animal happened in October last year, I knew that I must read Taddeo’s fictional debut. I had earlier last year buddy read her non-fiction work Three Women with a friend and was amazed by her writing style. So thank you @bloomsburyindia for sending across this dark and twisted tale.
If you’ve read a Taddeo before you’re probably aware of how her books talk about sex and female desires without judgement while being fully aware of how judgemental society is in reality.
I won’t lie, Animal was a challenging read. But not in terms of the pacing or the writing style, both as expected from Lisa were perfect. The challenge lies in accepting the MC Joan, accepting her reality. She’s not likable. But her story will leave you shocked by the amount of trauma that is uncovered through the course of the book.
Joan’s thoughts are surprisingly relatable. This quote from the book explains it well:
You are all of us. You are the parts of us that no one wants to admit.
Her thoughts are directed to a “you” in the book and she’s most raw and vulnerable to this “you”, but who is this you is what keeps YOU hooked.
So, I found the ending to be a bit rushed. While the author ties up the loose ends, there are many questions which I am still sitting on right now. On the other hand, this book is an experience and I’ll most probably be sitting on those thoughts and questions for a while. The author ensures that you feel uncomfortable. She doesn’t attempt to make sex and desires pretty, they are what they for someone.
I would like to emphasise that this book is a hard one and it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it is definitely not recommended for anyone younger than 16 & there are many triggers (rape, miscarriage, murder are just some of them) which you will want to watch out for before picking it up.
Taddeo is a truly talented writer. Her stories evoke rage, makes you reflect and consider before passing any judgments. Her story clearly depicts what it means to be a woman in a man’s world. Most people have uncomfortable desires and most choose to hide them, but Taddeo chooses to write about them instead and I think that’s brave which is why I ma giving Animal 4 out of 5 bookmarks.