This is book 12 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021
ANIMAL by LISA TADDEO
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
PUBLISHED BY BLOOMSBURY
This book is dark, disturbing, messed up….. my kind of read!! It’s a book that will shock and horrify and just when you think things can’t get any darker, you’ll be proved wrong!!
Joan is the woman at the centre of this story and she is no normal young woman! She isn’t a girls girl, and knows exactly how to use men -she prefers the married kind! – and her sociopathic personality allows her to distance herself from any kind of empathy. And you wonder just how she got to be like this – the more we hear of her story, the more it all begins to make sense, but doesn’t excuse how she has turned out. Even she acknowledges her ‘depraved’ attitude to life. But she knows no different….
When she sees a lover kill himself in front of her in a restaurant, it begins a new journey in her life as she looks to leave that life behind, in search of the next chapter/victim! But she keeps looking back over her life – her childhood, the relationships, sexual experiences – mainly to explain herself and justify her actions.
She has an extremely cynical outlook on life, and is always making assumptions. The one thing that keeps her focus is ‘Alice’, a name she has been tracking for many years and you soon learn the relevance of this character in her life. For someone who shies away from female friendships, you wonder just how she will approach this woman when she tracks her down.
The language is brutal, as are the sexual exploits of Joan, but that just goes along with the ferocity of this story. It’s dark, it is damaged and to the extremes. For Joan, sex is to be used, not enjoyed, and you fear for her sanity at times with the levels she is willing to sink to. It explores the actions of the ‘other woman’ and how she deals, or doesn’t!, when faced with the consequences and repercussions of decisions she has made.
She is not a character that will endear herself to the reader with many of her actions, but it’s an extraordinary book and story so brilliantly portrayed and executed.