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Publisher's Summary

The Sunday Times best seller.

Fearlessly frank and funny, the debut adult novel from Dawn O’Porter needs to be talked about. 

This audiobook contains an audio exclusive Q&A with author Dawn O’Porter.

COW [n.] /kaʊ/ A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.

Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.

The Cows is a powerful novel about three women. In all the noise of modern life, each needs to find their own voice.

It’s about friendship and being female.

It’s bold and brilliant.

It’s searingly perceptive.

It's about never following the herd.

And everyone is going to be talking about it.

©2017 Dawn O'Porter (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"A funny, smart, kind, incredibly truthful book about women...all the shame, judgement, envy and love that being alive and female entails." (Polly Vernon)

"Smart and insightful." (RED)   

"Dawn's writing is addictive - fearless, beyond feisty and seriously funny." (Mel Giedroyc)   

"Funny and excruciating. You'll think about it for weeks!" (Kristen Wiig)   

"I loved it. Funny, moving, twisty.... Wow! I couldn't stop reading it." (Jill Mansell) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Mark
  • Reno, NV, United States
  • 11-05-17

Smart, funny, feminist

I learned about this one after the author was on The Guilty Feminist podcast. Like that show, the book is smart and funny and examines the hypocrisies and insecurities that undermine efforts to be feminist. The writing operates in the vicinity of “Bridget Jones” and Liane Moriarty. The book revolves mostly around the idea of whether society allows 42-year-old moms to be sexual beings, after a main character’s private moment is caught on video and becomes a viral sensation. I’d read some reviews that things went too far, and I'll admit I was yelling “no, no, no!” when one of the characters did something seemingly unforgivable. But the power-of-sisterhood ending was perfect. Grade: A-

P.S. The audio version has three different narrators, including the author, and all are great.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely Loved it!!!

Really fantastic writing! Witty, relatable and totally engaging.
The narration was stellar by all three characters as well.
Will definitely be looking forward to more from this author!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I listened to it anyway...

One of the reviews I read for this book said "cringe-worthy", and shortly into the story I realized it absolutely IS cringe-worthy... but I am SO glad I listened to it anyway! This book is unlike any I have ever read or listened to, and I am so glad that I didn't miss out. I cringed, I laughed out loud more than once, I found myself almost in tears at one point, and now I'm sad that it's over, but happy that I read it. Easily 5 stars

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • St. Paul, MN, United States
  • 08-06-18

Don't judge a book by the title!

This book is enlightening and interesting. The characters are incredibly deep and their intersectionality is subtle and well done. This is a story of feminism thru and thru. The title is explained in the beginning, but not necessarily does the theme come to fruition. I highly recommend you get it despite the title. Oh, and I usually don't like authors narrating, but in this case I couldn't tell you which character was hers -- they were all of high caliber and talented!

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So much love and resonance I have goose flesh!

Such a wonderfully current reflection on feminism, media, judgement, life.. I am a big fan of surprises, so I won't say anything about the plot because it's full of little twists and turns that kept me gasping, laughing, and crying "no!" The narrators are all fantastic. I can't believe I had never heard of this book before. I will be sure to make sure my loved ones aren't left in the dark - this is a must read! I feel entertained, uplifted, and empowered.

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Fabulous

This is the most riveting book I've read in ages! Well done! Thought it was wonderful.

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Highly recommend, one of my favorites

Fantastic plot and character development, important messages in the content. Really loved this book! Go for it!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Light yet poignant and completely engaging

A really good read that is well written and well-narrated. I highly recommend this very contemporary, funny, a little bit outrageous, engaging read that seems like a light "chick-flick" in book form but is actually an edgy feminist tale.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hippynat
  • 05-24-17

Awesome

Feminism how it should be, honest and gory in its detail ( but not in a horrid way!) it was really well written and (key) really well read by different actors and Dawn - I haven't been able to stop listening! I've enjoyed it immensely and cannot wait for more by Dawn. I loved her other books (though I'm definitely not a teenager) but this was more realistic and I felt really connected to the characters.Such a gem of a book I'd recommend it to women and men such a breathe a fresh air from chick lit. Go read it 😊

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • MISS
  • 05-03-17

Best book I've listened to for years!

This book had me gripped right from the start. The characters are all likeable and have their own very different stories which end up cleverly interwoven. Every woman should read this book - can't wait for her to write another!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs Hannah
  • 06-07-17

Good all round.

Good book but a little long in places. I would recommend this book how ever it's a little to far fetched in places. But worth a read.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Loraine Thompson
  • 08-29-17

Did not enjoy

Rubbish. Sexual words and context written in a childish manner, and the heroine narrative sounded more like a teenage than mature adult with a child as depicted in the story. I completed the book, to see if it improved or at least had a sensible ending...it didn't.

16 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kaggy
  • 09-17-18

Interesting but flawed

This book is really a long musing about women's issues and I can't criticise it for that. Some of the points are interesting and well made, but as a story I found it flawed. Overall I thought it struggled with trying to deliver some important and serious points but utilising Brigit Jones style characters in farcical situations. For example one of the main sub-plots involves preventing a male character seeing something on the internet. The whole idea was that his PA had complete control over his life. This was frankly unbelievable and silly. Another character is supposed to be shocked and surprised at seeing an embarrassing event on the internet even though the event happened the night before and she knew it had been filmed. Stella was a particularly good and intriguing character but her plot turns into an absurd comedy caused by her stupid and unnecessary lies. In short I think this story should either have been a drama or a comedy and it didn't really work as both.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Isobel
  • 08-15-18

Surprised I enjoyed this book!

This was not a promising book for me, as there is not a lot of modern fiction that impresses me, I do not like swearing, and probably due to my advanced age I do not particularly revel in discussing sexual matters. Having said all of which, I think this book was enjoyable, very well-written and communicated the dilemmas, feelings and lives of its main characters very well indeed. I forgave it the liberal use of bad language as I do appreciate that it has its place and the context carried it off. There were one or two elements that were a bit difficult to accept such as the public revelation of Camilla's condition, the use by Stella of her "public" work email address for her nefarious purposes and the forwarding of Stella's fatal email by Camilla - I found these slightly irritating as none of them is likely to have occurred, but then these things were all needed to knit the plot together and the story was otherwise beautifully constructed. Let's face it - the ending was what we all hoped which may be a bit cheesy but after you have suffered so much with these characters through the development of the plot you really do deserve the gift of a satisfying ending! I did not always admire the feminist outpourings as they were sometimes a little trite and less than fully thought out but since they fitted the character who was responsible for them I tried not to examine the quality of the philosophy too closely. The book did deal with some very genuine women's issues and some very human ones. I found the examination of female friendships particularly fascinating, touching and well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sue Two
  • 07-09-17

Fantastic book well done Dawn

Gripping and full of amazing insight , absolutely loved it and the honesty she writes with. Great female characters bring the story to life and tackle some very real issues facing all modern women today.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Beth Jones
  • 07-07-17

My favourite Audible listen so far! By a mile!

And there have been loads, trust me! Truly excellent and delivered on every level. A must listen for anyone.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alyson Fitzgibbon
  • 07-05-17

A great read

Thoroughly enjoyed this. Great narrators and three very different stories that came together very well in the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jalopy
  • 06-10-17

Didn't want this book to finish!

I enjoyed this book so much I didn't want it to finish, and I can't wait for Dawns next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Annie
  • 08-21-18

Brilliant - loved it

Love love love .... worth reading - love Dawn O’porter - very enjoyable and great narration - great hearing Dawns voice

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-28-18

First review after reading 100s of books

I just had to review this!! I listened to this as an audio book and I’m so glad I did. Absolutely fantastic, did not want it to end. First book I have genuinely laughed out loud. Feel good book that makes you realise how amazing women really are without being too feministic.

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  • Jude Marshall
  • 05-11-18

New favourite!

Exciting, funny, modern and relatable- it’s brilliant
A must read and I will read again and again

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  • Skye
  • 04-15-18

Really enjoyable read

One of the narrators pronounces says as "say-s" (rather than sez) . Quite off putting! But otherwise really good.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-28-18

READ THIS BOOK!!

OMG, this is brilliant- I recommend the audiobook however I’m sure that any version will resonate, make you laugh, teary & grateful for who or whatever your ‘herd’ may be. Cheers Dawn.

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  • Hannah McCauley
  • 02-16-18

The novel of my generation.

Every woman, whether she is single or couple, a mother or childless, should read - or listen to - this book. The intwined storyline draws you into the world of Camilla, Tara and Stella. The storyline is happy and sad, funny and heartbreaking all at the same time. I laughed out loud, cringed uncomfortably and cried hysterically.

To me, this book is the novel of my generation - the way it tells the story of females in a modern world is worthy of all the praise I can conjure.

I loved it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-09-18

LOVED it!!!!!

Highly recommend this book. Audio was amazing and really made the whole experience for me.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-17-17

Loved it!

From cover to cover I loved every minute of this book! I laughed, cried, cringed and blushed. I'd never read anything from Dawn O'Porter before but i will be eagerly awaiting her next book!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-06-17

Fantastic. Couldn't stop listening.

This is a book I will recommend to friends. It was well written, well paced and, best of all, the characters were relevant, well developed and believable. The author paints a fascinating picture of womanhood and feminism in the 21st century, particularly focusing on the irrepressible impact of the internet in modern day life.
The story gets a little out there at the end but it was so enjoyably put together that I didn't mind much. The only other slight criticism I have is that it addressed only a very few of the issues significant to modern feminism and ignored the rest. We got motherhood, workplace sexism, heterosexual promiscuity and that's it. A very minor criticism because there's obviously a limit to how many topics can feature in a novel. I think I kept coming up with more "but what about...?" questions than the author answered.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-22-17

Great story, only 1 complaint that the

narrator for Cam mispronounces "says"; doesn't change the dipthong to the EH sound. So annoying!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful