Book of the Month: The Cows by Dawn O'Porter

the cows

Dawn O’Porter’s unique voice and sharp humour shine through in her first novel for adults, following three very different women whose lives become inextricably entwined

About the book

Columnist, TV presenter and director Dawn O'Porter's first foray into literature was with young adult novels Paper Aeroplanes and Goose, receiving praise from critics for her humour and ability to capture the very essence of adolescent life. Her first venture into novels for adults, The Cows, does not disappoint.

TV exec and single mother Tara’s life is left in tatters when she becomes the victim of public shaming; PA Stella mourns her sister and mother and wonders whether she’ll ever become a mother herself; whilst blogger Cam faces a backlash to her blog about her choice not to have children. An extraordinary event forms invisible bonds of friendship between the three women, as one's catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration.

The Cows is a fearless novel about female friendship, motherhood and finding your own voice in a world where it's often the social norm to follow the herd. Taking on a number of the hefty subjects that affect modern day women, Dawn O’Porter’s smart, poignant and very funny narrative makes The Cows the perfect novel to see you through the holidays.

Buy the book now for £4

About the author

Dawn O'Porter

Dawn O'Porter is a novelist, columnist, broadcaster and designer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, two small children, cat Lilu and dog Potato. She has made numerous documentaries about all sorts of things: polygamy, childbirth, Geishas, body image, breast cancer and even the film Dirty Dancing. Dawn is the founder of Help Refugees, a charity that sends urgent care to refugees across Europe. She is also the founder of 'BOB by Dawn O'Porter' an online vintage fashion boutique, and host of 'Get It On' a weekly podcast where she interviews interesting people about why they wear what they wear.

Dawn says: “I'm so flattered that Mumsnet have chosen 'The Cows' as their Book of the Month. I appreciate how hard it is to find time to read when you have kids, so if you choose to spend that precious time reading my book, then I'm truly grateful and I hope you enjoy it.”

What our bloggers thought


Helpful Mum

“The Cows made me question how I perceive other women, and what I could do to not be judgemental. It was a realistic depiction of women in society today, the impact of social media, both bad and good, on our lives and the need for good friendships.”

Read the blog post


Hi Baby blog

“I read it at the speed of light, enjoying it so much I almost wanted to skim some parts so as to leave myself little treasures of description to read for the first time when I inevitably pick it up again in a month or two.”

Read the blog post

The Cows book

Island Living 365

“This is a fantastic feisty feminist novel that every woman needs to read. I love that we have three strong women, yet they aren’t presented as perfect, they are all flawed and they all make mistakes.”

Read the blog post

The Cows book

Max and Mummy blog

“The Cows was a refreshing read about modern perceptions of women and how we are trying to challenge them. It's a celebration of strength and a story that really shines a light on how we are all connected to each other, even though we may not feel as though we are.”

Read the blog post

The Cows book

The Mummy Bubble blog

“Dawn O’Porter weaves the narrative of each character’s journey beautifully together, taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions as they each experience the highs and lows of life as a woman.”

Read the blog post

Get involved

If you're interested in joining us, do grab yourself a copy. Or first, check out the book by reading or listening to the extracts below.

Read Chapter 1 of The Cows

Author webchat

Dawn O'Porter will be joining us to discuss and answer questions? about The Cows on Wednesday 25 April between 9 and 10pm.

New to Mumsnet Book Club? Find out how it works, and what we'll be reading in the next few months

Prices correct at time of publication