In recent months I have been trying to read non-fiction on a more regular basis, and this week I finally got round to reading Animal, the first book by comedian Sara Pascoe (her next book, Sex, Power, Money is out in August) It’s a book I have been meaning to read for a while, which offers an autobiography of a female body, exploring a range of topics and issues relevant to women today and throughout history.
Prior to reading this, as I am a woman in her early thirties, I thought there wouldn’t be much I didn’t know about the female body, but on reading this book, it turns out I was incorrect! The book is split into three key sections, covering matters of love, the body and consent. Along the way, Sara explores some of the science about what makes us tick, what makes us attracted to each other and how our bodies have evolved over time, and the animal instincts we all possess. There were a lot of facts and details here that were new to me, some of which certainly made me feel a bit better about myself and my own body. But whilst the book deals with some serious issues, this doesn’t feel like a heavy read, due to the fact that it is interspersed with humour, alongside Sara’s own personal experiences. This makes the book feel all the more relatable, like listening in on a conversation between friends.
As a fan of Sara’s comedy, this was a book I got into very quickly, and I found it to be as entertaining as it was informative. Through Sara’s own experiences, alongside the research she has undertaken, we build up a history of the female form through the years, exploring how our bodies evolved alongside the perception of women through the years and in the modern day. And whilst there are plenty of humorous moments in here that made me smile, there is also an important reminder that there is still a long way to go in terms of gender equality, in addition to matters of consent and marriage across the world. Since this book was published in 2016 there have been steps in the right direction, but there are some startling facts and figures in this book that remain true to this day, highlighting the need to keep working towards a better future, one in which all women can be supported, and respected.
Animal was an interesting and enjoyable read which explores some important subject matter surrounding life as a woman and the female body. It was a book that I found informative, without being too overwhelming in terms of content, and one which I found to be relatable, whilst leaving me with plenty to think about.