Animal by Lisa Taddeo – Review

Genre: Thriller
Published: July 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 321
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋/5

“I am depraved. I hope you like me.”

Lisa Taddeo, Animal

The story starts when Joan’s former lover commits suicide at a restaurant where she is having dinner with another married man. She then leaves her home in New York and travels to California to find Alice in the hopes of coming to terms with as well as dealing with issues from the past. While she is in LA we learn about her past traumas and relationships and what has caused her to become so depraved.

I will admit that after I finished this book, it took me a while to gather my thoughts. I love dark thrillers, but even this was more dark than I’m used to. Even if you enjoy thrillers with anti-heroes, at some stage you will probably feel uncomfortable reading this book.

The story is told from the perspective of main character Joan. I’ve read a few other books with anti-heroes and just like Joan, they are generally unlikable and you can struggle to connect with them. But that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the story.

The depravation has useful to me. Useful to what end, I couldn’t say. But I have survived the worst.

The chapters alternate between present day and the past, where we learn more about Joan’s childhood and how her experiences have shaped the person she has become. She’s had a tough life and lost her innocence when she was young. Joan has also had a traumatic childhood and developed a dysfunctional relationship with men and the way she sees them from a young age.

You have to remember that it is told from the viewpoint of someone who has suffered trauma and sees the world through a different lens than most people. Of course, it doesn’t excuse some of her behaviour and murderous tendencies. She has been taken advantage of by men from young age and has had to fend for herself after losing her parents when she was a child. 

Lisa Taddeo does not hold back in this book, which is filled with raw emotion and lots of graphic detail. It’s very different to your standard thriller and one you will think about long after you’ve finished reading it.

Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

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