About the Book:
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.
“I am a lot of things but I’m not a sociopath.”
What a powerhouse of a book! This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if you are so inclined, grab the audiobook narrated by Emma Roberts. The audiobook version is the perfect marriage of narrator and material.
Violent from the very beginning, ‘Animal’ tells the story of Joan, who has just witnesses a public suicide that drives her away from New York City to Los Angeles. She is seeking the very mysterious Alice, who somehow holds a piece of the puzzle that is Joan’s troubled past.
Joan has a history of affairs with married men, and men who are otherwise emotionally unavailable for her. The book is told in the first person as Joan narrates the story of her childhood, her relationship with her parents and her very tumultuous relationship with the men in her life.
“When I saw boys in the streets with their low-slung backpacks, I thought of the girls they liked, the girls who got to be eleven and twelve and thirteen, with unicorn stickers and slap bracelets. I did not get to be any of those ages. I was ten and then I was thirty, and then I was thirty-seven.”
Lisa Taddeo has an unflinching view of women’s sexuality and how men treat women. If you read ‘Three Women’ (a must!!) you know she writes with simple, beautiful and often evocative prose. As Joan’s story begins to unfold, we learn that her family and her past was even darker than first revealed. Joan experienced much tragedy and that pain never seems to leave her. And it affects all of her adult relationships, with both men and other women.
“I had a fear of angering a man, of not being an amenable woman.”
Emma Roberts WAS Joan to me and if this is ever made into a movie, she would be perfect (even though she is a few years younger than Joan in real life.) This book is unsettling to say the least but I found it to be incredibly addictive and moving. Who is Alice? And who is Joan addressing in her narrative when she says “you”? I won’t forget this book and its sometimes brutal descriptions. Lisa Taddeo is a a brilliant writer and ‘Animal’ is one of my favorite audiobooks of 2021.
“Cruelty looks better on a woman than the perfect dress.”
(Thanks to the publisher for providing an aduobook listening copy via Libro.fm.)