This story is exactly what is says it is. There has never been a blurb more accurate, or a word more fitting, then the ‘depravity’ of this story. To be respectful of people’s triggers and history, I want to preface this review and this title with some warnings. Sexual assault, violence, loss, and eating disorders can be provoked by this text. So just keep that in mind. I am going to try and stay away from the reality of these conversations as much as possible, however, I trust you all to know when and where your bar of comfort is.
Animal, by Lisa Taddeo, is a reality many readers and persons would like to ignore. It grapples with the product of minimizing the female experience. Joan, our main character, has had a hard life to put it mildly. As a result, she’s learned a variety of societal lessons that are a stain on our culture. For instance, a woman’s worth is represented by the quantity of men that sexually want her. That number is synonymous not only with one’s confidence but also with one’s usefulness. It’s a principle in which Joan devolves under.
I guess it could be an argument of sorts by Animal‘s readers on whether or not Joan devolves or evolves. I am of the opinion that this is a break down of sorts. This text is written from the perspective and lessons of Joan. And the lessons being what they are, I don’t believe there is evidence of growth but acceptance. It’s a blood-curdling admission. Rather than changing her behavior or her outlook, Joan changes her life in a way. As a reader and a person, I can’t say that I understood or believe the change that Joan makes. That’s why, while I think this is an important text for our male-operating society, the ending left me incredibly unfulfilled.
But that could also be the point, this society is disappointing for women and Joan, so why should I be satisfied by this book?