Review: Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Title: Animal
Author: Lisa Taddeo
Price: £16.99
Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus
Publication Date: 24/06/21

Hey all! Today I’m back with a review of ‘Animal’ by Lisa Taddeo. I loved Taddeo’s non-fiction book ‘Three Women’ and I knew that her fiction debut would not disappoint!  Massive thanks to Georgina Moore at Midas PR for my advanced copy of the book! I received it some time ago and have been excited to read it but life got in the way so I didn’t get a chance to pick it up until now. Anyway, let’s get on with the review, it’s one that you definitely don’t want to skip!


I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me. He was a gluttonous man and when his blood came out it looked like the blood of a pig. That's a cruel thing to think, I know. He did it in a restaurant where I was having dinner with another man, another married man. Do you see how this is going? But I wasn't always that way. I am depraved. I hope you like me. 

I have to admit that I have been left so speechless by ‘Animal’ that I don’t even know where to start with this review. It is a book that has truly captured me; I read it over the weekend and I couldn’t put it down, even when I had to eat or work. Some may find the story of Joan too dark but what I loved most about this book was the exploration of the darkest parts of the character’s personality and life.

The character of Joan and her narration is definitely dark, and the honesty and intimacy of the storytelling may be uncomfortable at times, but it was a very refreshing read and I enjoyed how the book explored female control and rage without making the character to be a mad woman, but rather a woman whose actions are justified (well to a certain extent). At times, the character of Joan can be unlikeable but learning about the abuse she suffered and the development of her character throughout the novel definitely makes us empathise with her and wish that she had a better life.

Furthermore, the type of relationships that Joan has with men and her deprivation of love were clear but what I found fascinating were her rare interactions with women, in particular the character of Alice. I appreciated that, rather than simply telling the reader the story, we learn about it through Joan’s conversations with Alice and whilst we’re reacting to her revelations, we also get some of Alice's honest reactions. Even though based on these interactions I found the ending somewhat predictable, this didn’t take away from how the story left me feeling. 

Overall, ‘Animal’ is an exquisitely written and developed fiction debut from Lisa Taddeo which explores trauma and the dark side of a female. The story is intimate and enthralling, even if difficult at times due to the issues it covers. The imagery and the descriptions are also beautiful (even if some may be beautiful in a twisted way). Taddeo is definitely a talented story-teller and 'Animal' is certainly deserving of a five star rating. I am looking forward to seeing what Taddeo comes up with in her future works of fiction! 'Animal' is out tomorrow and I couldn't recommend it enough. If you decide to pick it up then please get in touch with me so we can discuss it!

Rating: 5 stars


About The Author

Lisa Taddeo is the author of Three Women, which she is currently adapting for a television series with Showtime. Three Women was both a Sunday Times and a New York Times number one bestseller, the most-picked book of the year in the UK in 2019, the British Book Awards Narrative Non-Fiction Book of the Year and the Foyles Non-Fiction Book of the Year. She is one of a select few authors to have published both fiction and non-fiction in Playboy, alongside Margaret Atwood, Vladimir Nabokov, Kingsley Amis and Norman Mailer, and she is also working on television projects with Netflix and Annapurna Pictures. She lives with her husband and daughter in New England.

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