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Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body

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Take a funny and illuminating tour of the female body with award-winning comedian Sara Pascoe. Women have so much going on, what with boobs and jealousy and menstruating and broodiness and sex and infidelity and pubes and wombs and jobs and memories and emotions and the past and the future and themselves and each other. Here's a book that deals with all of it. Sara Pascoe has Take a funny and illuminating tour of the female body with award-winning comedian Sara Pascoe. Women have so much going on, what with boobs and jealousy and menstruating and broodiness and sex and infidelity and pubes and wombs and jobs and memories and emotions and the past and the future and themselves and each other. Here's a book that deals with all of it. Sara Pascoe has joked about feminity and sexuality on stage and screen but now she has a book to talk about it all for a bit longer. Animal combines autobiography and evolutionary history to create a funny, fascinating insight into the forces that mould and affect modern women. Animal is entertaining and informative, personal and universal - silly about lots of things and serious about some. It's a laugh-out-loud investigation to help us understand and forgive our animal urges and insecurities.


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Take a funny and illuminating tour of the female body with award-winning comedian Sara Pascoe. Women have so much going on, what with boobs and jealousy and menstruating and broodiness and sex and infidelity and pubes and wombs and jobs and memories and emotions and the past and the future and themselves and each other. Here's a book that deals with all of it. Sara Pascoe has Take a funny and illuminating tour of the female body with award-winning comedian Sara Pascoe. Women have so much going on, what with boobs and jealousy and menstruating and broodiness and sex and infidelity and pubes and wombs and jobs and memories and emotions and the past and the future and themselves and each other. Here's a book that deals with all of it. Sara Pascoe has joked about feminity and sexuality on stage and screen but now she has a book to talk about it all for a bit longer. Animal combines autobiography and evolutionary history to create a funny, fascinating insight into the forces that mould and affect modern women. Animal is entertaining and informative, personal and universal - silly about lots of things and serious about some. It's a laugh-out-loud investigation to help us understand and forgive our animal urges and insecurities.

30 review for Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Fans of How to Be a Woman, gender equality or laughing like a simpleton on public transport: I recommend this book to you. People who only like rigorous, unbiased, robust science… maybe you should sit this one out. I usually occupy the middle section of that venn diagram, but because this book was so fun and entertaining I was able to let some of the dodgy evolutionary psychology slide. Sara Pascoe explores the female body in a meandering, science-y, anecdotey and highly enjoyable manner. It’s os Fans of How to Be a Woman, gender equality or laughing like a simpleton on public transport: I recommend this book to you. People who only like rigorous, unbiased, robust science… maybe you should sit this one out. I usually occupy the middle section of that venn diagram, but because this book was so fun and entertaining I was able to let some of the dodgy evolutionary psychology slide. Sara Pascoe explores the female body in a meandering, science-y, anecdotey and highly enjoyable manner. It’s ostensibly the story of the female body throughout its evolutionary lifetime: the forces that have shaped it, its treatment by different societies and its physiology. The science-y bits were definitely not this book’s strength and I say that with a great deal of respect for Sara Pascoe. While it’s clear that she did a lot of research for this book, I think she made the mistake of assuming that because a theory was once published in some peer reviewed journal or other, it is incontrovertible fact - this is an easy trap to fall into if you’re unused to critiquing academic papers and theories. The various problems with evolutionary psychology have been widely discussed (some interesting/funny articles about it can be found: here and here) but, briefly, the problem with evo-psych is that it’s all speculative, post hoc, and impossible to prove experimentally, which means that you can basically make up an evo-psych theory to back up any agenda. Another problem is that these theories are really easy to believe!; I mean, it makes sense that humans have evolved to love deeply because being pair-bonded would increase the survival of their offspring; it makes sense that women would be more attracted to big burly men with excellent angry fighting genes; it makes sense that women would sleep with multiple men to make paternity confusing and no-one would know who their child was so everyone would help out with childrearing, right? Well it also makes logical sense that Elizabeth married Darcy and Harry defeated Voldemort - but that doesn’t mean either of those things actually happened. They’re stories. And there are other stories in which these things don’t happen. For every evo-psych theory there is a counter-theory which “shows” something completely different. Mostly, I thought the discussions of human evolution were harmless if a bit dull and clearly not very robust. There was only one bit that I found really concerning; and that was the idea that women have evolved to be insecure about the way we look. The rationale seemed to be that for a large part of our evolutionary history, the only bargaining power a woman had was her looks and therefore women who worried about their looks and constantly compared themselves to other women were at an advantage (“Our big fat brains can’t help compartmentalising other women and visually dissecting ourselves because we assess our bodies like a product we’re selling and it’s been that way for millennia”). I find this both worrisome and an example of how evo-psych can be used to back up any subjective opinion. At several points in the book, Pascoe talks about her own struggles with self image (the extent of which are both shocking and harrowing). So she then comes up with this half-baked theory. I don’t buy it (surely the stress of constantly worrying about what you look like would detract from the time you had to find food and firewood and look after your kids?), I don’t identify with it (which is irrelevant but true), and I think it’s dangerous to suggest that women’s body image problems are innate. Much more likely is that women who struggle with body image are victims of societal trends which make them feel that their looks are the only thing of value that they have to contribute. Anyway, that was a much longer rant than I was expecting. You may now be wondering why I gave this book four stars (if you’re still reading, which is increasingly unlikely). And that’s because it was funny! The dodgy science only makes up a small proportion of the book and less so as it goes on. It gradually gives way to more personal and biographical reflections from Pascoe herself, along with Moran-esque rants about the position of women in modern society. There were several parts that had me laughing out loud and I thought the bits from the author’s own life were engaging. She is sweet and intelligent and a genuinely good writer. Perhaps she thought that the world didn’t need another How to be a Woman and so pitched the book as one on evolution rather than her own thoughts and experiences; it still worked, but I think it would have worked much better if she’d had the confidence to just write about herself. Overall, I think it’s a good read if you’re able to take the “science” with a pinch of salt, and it definitely stimulated some interesting discussion in my book club.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emmy Gregory

    The kind of quarterassed evopsych book that makes me cringe. It comes across as though written by a 19-year-old who's just discovered evolution. Virtually every sentence made me want to scream "it's more complicated than that!" If you want to write one of these, here's how you do it: - Take an assumption about how men/women operate based on your own halfassed selection of personal experience and prejudice. - Speculate about how this trait could have been selectively beneficial to our prehistoric a The kind of quarterassed evopsych book that makes me cringe. It comes across as though written by a 19-year-old who's just discovered evolution. Virtually every sentence made me want to scream "it's more complicated than that!" If you want to write one of these, here's how you do it: - Take an assumption about how men/women operate based on your own halfassed selection of personal experience and prejudice. - Speculate about how this trait could have been selectively beneficial to our prehistoric ancestors (without any actual evidence - everyone always assumes that they just *know* how gender and gender roles worked back then). - Declare that this posthoc analysis supports the initial premise and that the behaviour is therefore hardwired. - Declare that this "hardwired" behaviour is what we all actually want. Every now and then mumble about exceptions without really considering the huge wealth of information that indicates that the real world and real human desires are not this simple. - Rinse and repeat. It's the worst kind of paleofantasy bullshit. Want to know what humans want? We're still around. Yes we are animals. Yes we've been shaped by evolution. But that doesn't mean that the experiences of our longdead ancestors are somehow more authentic and meaningful than today's experiences. They're just easier to make shit up about.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael Legge

    I'm glad he dies in the end. I'm glad he dies in the end.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This is a bloody marvellous introduction to the myriad of issues faced by women. It is warm, witty and hugely interesting. I imagine it as a giant jumping off point for girls/ young women/ adults/ boys/ teenagers etc etc etc to read and learn and experience MORE.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarra O'donnell

    Because I am inherently lazy, I never write book reviews. But sometimes you read a book that makes you belly laugh so much you feel compelled to write something that might just convince every single person ever, to read it as well. Magazines like Cosmo and Heat would probably call Sara Pascoe's book "brutally honest", "unflinching" and "a must read for every teenage girl" but I am 26 and would say it "made me laugh like a drain", is "toe-curling relatable" and that "even my boyfriend wants to re Because I am inherently lazy, I never write book reviews. But sometimes you read a book that makes you belly laugh so much you feel compelled to write something that might just convince every single person ever, to read it as well. Magazines like Cosmo and Heat would probably call Sara Pascoe's book "brutally honest", "unflinching" and "a must read for every teenage girl" but I am 26 and would say it "made me laugh like a drain", is "toe-curling relatable" and that "even my boyfriend wants to read it now". Sure, Pascoe gets a bit shouty at times and could probably do with stepping down from her soap box somewhere near the end, but what's the point of writing a book if you can't be self-righteous, even for a little bit? Coming from an emotionally constipated family, it would have been so much easier to have a book like this handed to me at age 13. I'm not saying it would have done anything to stop some of the weird shit I did as a teenager, but I might have at least had a better idea why I did it. In fact, I want to buy copies of this book, wrap them up and keep them for any potential future teenage daughters I might have, to reassure them that we're all worried and scared and don't know what we're doing half the time. Honestly, I thought this book was brilliant. It's hilarious and dare I say even "brave" *cringes*. It's made me proud of my fat arse and massive hips because that's where babies come from (not my arse, obviously) and that's AMAZING. If you have a vagina or know someone that does, go out and find this book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tras

    Not afraid to admit that I LOVE Sara Pascoe! Whenever I've seen her on QI, or heard her on various podcasts - notably QI's No Such Thing as a Fish and The Infinite Monkey Cage - she's never failed to offer thought provoking opinions and knowledge in an engagingly entertaining manner. This book is basically an extension of that approach. It's extremely funny, informative, and fascinating. As the title suggests, Sara has written a part autobiography, part biological history of man (and woman) kind Not afraid to admit that I LOVE Sara Pascoe! Whenever I've seen her on QI, or heard her on various podcasts - notably QI's No Such Thing as a Fish and The Infinite Monkey Cage - she's never failed to offer thought provoking opinions and knowledge in an engagingly entertaining manner. This book is basically an extension of that approach. It's extremely funny, informative, and fascinating. As the title suggests, Sara has written a part autobiography, part biological history of man (and woman) kind. There's lots of hilarious insights into her own upbringing, and she doesn't shy away from dealing with difficult topics such as abortion, genital mutilation, underage sex, and rape, and how attitudes to these things have altered (or not altered at all, as the case may be) over time. Some of the information she relays is deeply disturbing, and it is plain that she cares intensely (as we all should!). She also provides a list of charitable organisations at the end of the book, together with a reading list. If you like Sara, you'll enjoy this book. Her writing style is warm and friendly, and she isn't afraid of presenting herself in a less than perfect light. I must have relayed about 2/3's of the book to my girlfriend as I was reading it, purely because countless snippets of information lit up my brain and demanded to be shared with another person. It's that kind of book. Enjoy :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Grace Croset

    I am surprised at myself for reading this book, as I have never particularly liked Sara Pascoe (I don't find her funny), but I'm glad that I did. This is a book I would want my teenage daughter (of the future!) to read, as although I didn't learn anything new from it (I have an interest in behavioural and evolutionary biology), I really enjoyed the way she explained what can at times be quite complex concepts. Although I found the comedy interludes tedious, there was a lot of really good informa I am surprised at myself for reading this book, as I have never particularly liked Sara Pascoe (I don't find her funny), but I'm glad that I did. This is a book I would want my teenage daughter (of the future!) to read, as although I didn't learn anything new from it (I have an interest in behavioural and evolutionary biology), I really enjoyed the way she explained what can at times be quite complex concepts. Although I found the comedy interludes tedious, there was a lot of really good information packed in here. Sara has clearly done her research, and much of the detail related to behavioural biology can be followed up in the writings of Robert Sapolsky.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Absolutely fantastic! This is the best book I’ve read on being a woman. It covers everything and it’s all backed up with examples from science and history. It is really funny but also poignant and some of it made me seriously mad! We’ve come a long way, but it’s still very hard to be a woman in modern society with so much pressure and high standards that are often impossible to meet. I loved this book! Everyone should read this book!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beth Hall

    I adore Sara Pascoe, even after she startled me that one time at work. This book was informative, witty, and clever- I just wish there were a few extra edits- mainly changing 'both genders' to 'all genders'. Still, this book was refreshing and delightfully rambly (but interestingly so) and I can see myself returning to it, especially after excitedly telling my bookclub all the new things I learned about sperm and startling the new person. I adore Sara Pascoe, even after she startled me that one time at work. This book was informative, witty, and clever- I just wish there were a few extra edits- mainly changing 'both genders' to 'all genders'. Still, this book was refreshing and delightfully rambly (but interestingly so) and I can see myself returning to it, especially after excitedly telling my bookclub all the new things I learned about sperm and startling the new person.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    This book was... not what I was expecting. I was essentially expecting "How To Be A Woman" but with a few more jokes. A pretty base-level feminist gender exploration, by a stand-up comedian. So I was pleasantly surprised to see how in-depth it was, both in terms of detail and also inclusivity. It covers how bodies have evolved, the science behind our chosen sexual and romantic partners, as well as treatment of women within society. It was way more knowledgeable than I was ever expecting, yet sti This book was... not what I was expecting. I was essentially expecting "How To Be A Woman" but with a few more jokes. A pretty base-level feminist gender exploration, by a stand-up comedian. So I was pleasantly surprised to see how in-depth it was, both in terms of detail and also inclusivity. It covers how bodies have evolved, the science behind our chosen sexual and romantic partners, as well as treatment of women within society. It was way more knowledgeable than I was ever expecting, yet still managed to not feel heavy and dry. So that is a pretty high accomplishment. My only slight complaint is with the ordering of sections; specifically the end section. The book ends with the section on 'consent', including some pretty graphic and shocking facts and stats about rape and sexual assault. And then the book pretty much ends. And while I definitely think that these things are important to discuss - and I am so glad they had their place within this book - I think that it felt a little abrupt to discuss the most personal and difficult section, and then just bring the book to a close.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sid Nuncius

    Animal is brilliant. I like Sara Pascoe very much so I expected to enjoy it, but it was even better than I expected. Sara Pascoe is very funny. She is also very intelligent, thoughtful, well informed, honest and insightful. The result is a very readable, often very funny book about human – especially female – sexuality, the female body, it’s workings and people’s attitudes to it. It is full of insight and genuine science, all of which she relates extremely well to our everyday experience. She is Animal is brilliant. I like Sara Pascoe very much so I expected to enjoy it, but it was even better than I expected. Sara Pascoe is very funny. She is also very intelligent, thoughtful, well informed, honest and insightful. The result is a very readable, often very funny book about human – especially female – sexuality, the female body, it’s workings and people’s attitudes to it. It is full of insight and genuine science, all of which she relates extremely well to our everyday experience. She is also refreshingly direct about topics like menstruation and engagingly - sometimes almost alarmingly - honest and open about her own experiences, emotions and insecurities. I found the sections about how someone so fabulously attractive as she is can still feel dreadfully insecure about how she looks especially helpful to my understanding, and the section on consent/rape is exceptionally good, too. Pascoe is knowledgeable and intelligent in her approach, while still often being very amusing. For example, she has a genuine grasp of the process of evolution (which is by no means always the case among people who write about it) and she is exceptionally good about acknowledging the things we do not know. This is one of the marks of a true scientist and she refuses to go in for that old, familiar trick of selecting just those (often dubious) bits of evidence which seem to support preconceptions or a political stance and pretending that they form a watertight case. As a result, her conclusions and politics about female sexuality and the way it has been (and still is) misrepresented and abused, body image and so on are all the more powerful, and she makes a very compelling case. Books on these topics are often worthily turgid; this is anything but. Pascoe is rightly angry about a lot of things, but she channels it into a non-aggressive, engaging, honest and very convincing voice which is fascinating, informative and highly entertaining. Everyone should read it, no matter what your age or gender, and this gent in his mid-60s can recommend it very warmly indeed. Oh, and Sara – you know the bits where you talk about how you can be in love with someone you’ve never met…?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

    I was a bit disappointed by this book having seen and enjoyed Sara Pascoe's stand-up live. There were bits of this book that had me laughing until I cried, and other bits that left me feeling frustrated. It's quite a jumble of different things, certain parts read like a self-help book, other bits are autobiographical and very frank (for me these were the funniest bits) and some of it reads like a Biology essay written by a GCSE student. I enjoyed it over all but I was left wishing she'd just wri I was a bit disappointed by this book having seen and enjoyed Sara Pascoe's stand-up live. There were bits of this book that had me laughing until I cried, and other bits that left me feeling frustrated. It's quite a jumble of different things, certain parts read like a self-help book, other bits are autobiographical and very frank (for me these were the funniest bits) and some of it reads like a Biology essay written by a GCSE student. I enjoyed it over all but I was left wishing she'd just written a straight autobiography as some of it comes across as quite preachy and self-righteous. I preferred Bridget Christie's A Book for Her by a long way because Christie manages to come across as well-educated on the subject without looking down on people who are not, whereas Pascoe sometimes seems like she is shouting "HOW COME YOU IDIOTS DON'T GET THIS" at her reader.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rob Adey

    I've seen Sara Pascoe do some fantastic stand-up, so I was really interested to see what this would be like. The rhythm of her delivery is here and works on paper. It's an entertaining mix of autobiographical comedy, feminism and evopsych - a similar experience to Bridget Christie's book, but with more biology. I don't totally trust the science sections, but then I don't think Pascoe's claiming to have the last word in any of this or overstating biological determinism - just that it's not far-fe I've seen Sara Pascoe do some fantastic stand-up, so I was really interested to see what this would be like. The rhythm of her delivery is here and works on paper. It's an entertaining mix of autobiographical comedy, feminism and evopsych - a similar experience to Bridget Christie's book, but with more biology. I don't totally trust the science sections, but then I don't think Pascoe's claiming to have the last word in any of this or overstating biological determinism - just that it's not far-fetched to assume our animal nature has some legacies, and it's useful to acknowledge that.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jayne Lamb

    Pascoe comes off as a very ingratiating and funny woman, but I'm a little puzzled as to who this book was actually aimed at (and, god, all the awful evo-psych she talks about as though it's fact rather than theory!) Maybe I would have really appreciated this when I was 17? Some of the relationship advice sounds like it's aimed at women in their 20s or 30s, but who.. I don't know... for some reason don't understand how periods work? Cute. Confused, but cute. Pascoe comes off as a very ingratiating and funny woman, but I'm a little puzzled as to who this book was actually aimed at (and, god, all the awful evo-psych she talks about as though it's fact rather than theory!) Maybe I would have really appreciated this when I was 17? Some of the relationship advice sounds like it's aimed at women in their 20s or 30s, but who.. I don't know... for some reason don't understand how periods work? Cute. Confused, but cute.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zabrina Welter

    It's a book that every woman and man should read... hilarious and in many ways a sexual education handbook for the 21st century. It's a book that every woman and man should read... hilarious and in many ways a sexual education handbook for the 21st century.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I ended up really liking this! Sara Pascoe's first book, Animal is an exploration of women's bodies, emotions and sexualities. Pascoe's book is divided into three sections: love, body and consent, and uses scientific and evolutionary theory to explore the problems and vulnerabilities women face today (and throughout history), as well as featuring some personal insights from Pascoe, and of course, comedic commentary. I think the first section, love, was the weakest for me. The scientific explorati I ended up really liking this! Sara Pascoe's first book, Animal is an exploration of women's bodies, emotions and sexualities. Pascoe's book is divided into three sections: love, body and consent, and uses scientific and evolutionary theory to explore the problems and vulnerabilities women face today (and throughout history), as well as featuring some personal insights from Pascoe, and of course, comedic commentary. I think the first section, love, was the weakest for me. The scientific exploration of love seemed too simplified and the arguments weren't as sharp. Body and consent, however, were very insightful, and just the right amount of angry. I also think the parts when Pascoe gets personal were some of the best. I think these 'pop feminism' reads have their place in the world. As a teenager, I think I wasn't given an adequate feminist education (possibly resulting from an amazing combination of attending religious school + having working class background). If I'd had something like this at fifteen or sixteen, I think I would have become pissed off earlier (good thing as being pissed off motivates you to want to change things). So yeah, I think they have an important place. And I think this is a good one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    A great book separated into discussions on 'love', 'body', and 'consent'. Pascoe manages to insert humour and charm, but still discusses serious, and upsetting, topics with a sincerity. This is a good book if you want a mix of entertainment, autobiography, well/explained science, and talks on bodies. Of course people who are well versed on the subjects will find fault with some of the scientific facts, but for me it was a perfect balance of digestible science I could understand and Pascoe's own A great book separated into discussions on 'love', 'body', and 'consent'. Pascoe manages to insert humour and charm, but still discusses serious, and upsetting, topics with a sincerity. This is a good book if you want a mix of entertainment, autobiography, well/explained science, and talks on bodies. Of course people who are well versed on the subjects will find fault with some of the scientific facts, but for me it was a perfect balance of digestible science I could understand and Pascoe's own thought. Whilst Pascoe is addressing matters of the 'female body' and does in her footnotes clarify that this can apply to those who do and do not identify as being female or to those who weren't necessarily born in a 'female' body, I think I would have liked more discussion on gender within her 'body' section. Overall the book raises some fantastic points that I definitely support, but for a book on bodies and love I think there should be more discussion dedicated to gender itself.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angelique

    YES YES YES. It's more of a 4.5 stars for me. It wasn't a whole lot of information that I hadn't already known. I liked the way in which it was presented. And it was funny, especially the spiders/pubes bit. Near the end, I needed to take breaks, because it was making me way too upset/angry/man stabby to continue. I loved her honesty and I loved reading it. I could stand up and clap when she was talking about how the boys should have heard about periods and the analogies with rape and other crime. YES YES YES. It's more of a 4.5 stars for me. It wasn't a whole lot of information that I hadn't already known. I liked the way in which it was presented. And it was funny, especially the spiders/pubes bit. Near the end, I needed to take breaks, because it was making me way too upset/angry/man stabby to continue. I loved her honesty and I loved reading it. I could stand up and clap when she was talking about how the boys should have heard about periods and the analogies with rape and other crime. I loved how unapologetic about her abortion she was and how honest she was about how she felt about her body. And I'm happy to see Fat is a Feminist Issue on her reading list. My only issue is when she explains the ideology behind pro-lifers, via pedophilia. I understand pro-lifers are human, but they are still forcing an issue on another person. This, I have no time for. Well done, Sara! Funny and easy to digest, not preachy and everyone should read this.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katie Leach

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wish I'd found it at an earlier age, when I had less confidence but nonetheless it still had an affect on how I view myself and women. And after all Sara wrote it in her mid-thirties so I still have ten years to have my own epiphanies. Anyone looking for sophisticated science or a text book, I'd go elsewhere. This book is through Sara's lens and I can see other reviewers saying the views are 'cringey' or 'immature'. I say she handled big issues that I personall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wish I'd found it at an earlier age, when I had less confidence but nonetheless it still had an affect on how I view myself and women. And after all Sara wrote it in her mid-thirties so I still have ten years to have my own epiphanies. Anyone looking for sophisticated science or a text book, I'd go elsewhere. This book is through Sara's lens and I can see other reviewers saying the views are 'cringey' or 'immature'. I say she handled big issues that I personally haven't been well-read on with great perception and I enjoyed her opinions and focus on morality. The humour is the kind that had me laughing out loud. To myself. On a busy train. But I'm okay with that.....

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ciboulette

    I want to give this to every single person I know. I want to gently shove this into stranger's laps on the train. I want to leave copies of this book at bus stops, in doctor's waiting rooms, on park benches. I want to sit down with my closest friends and eat and talk and talk and talk about this. I want to buy Sara Pascoe a pint. This was incredibly fascinating to read, but most of all, it gave me so much to think about and talk about and so many incentives to do things differently. I honestly r I want to give this to every single person I know. I want to gently shove this into stranger's laps on the train. I want to leave copies of this book at bus stops, in doctor's waiting rooms, on park benches. I want to sit down with my closest friends and eat and talk and talk and talk about this. I want to buy Sara Pascoe a pint. This was incredibly fascinating to read, but most of all, it gave me so much to think about and talk about and so many incentives to do things differently. I honestly recommend this book with all my heart.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bernadette

    This should be required reading for every teenager, regardless of gender. It's funny, well-researched and passionate. Best of all, Pascoe gives such beautiful eloquence to feelings and experiences I thought I was alone in having; our lives have been so eerily similar....I think she might just BE me (except I'm not a successful comedian/actor/author in the top tax bracket!) Loved it! This should be required reading for every teenager, regardless of gender. It's funny, well-researched and passionate. Best of all, Pascoe gives such beautiful eloquence to feelings and experiences I thought I was alone in having; our lives have been so eerily similar....I think she might just BE me (except I'm not a successful comedian/actor/author in the top tax bracket!) Loved it!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    I really liked this book! Sara is a fab writer and the ideas were presented w humour and conciseness (not a word but oh well.) Would recommend it if you’re looking for a book about women that delves into the science-y bits of sexuality

  23. 5 out of 5

    Izzi Douet

    I could not put this book down, yet I never wanted it to end. A brilliant and inciteful (and funny) overview of the biology, history and personal experience (Pascoe's experience) of the female body, focusing particularly on sex and love. I could not put this book down, yet I never wanted it to end. A brilliant and inciteful (and funny) overview of the biology, history and personal experience (Pascoe's experience) of the female body, focusing particularly on sex and love.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    It's been such a long time since I laughed out loud while reading a book, thank you very much! It's been such a long time since I laughed out loud while reading a book, thank you very much!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Louise Jones

    Brilliant, funny, relatable, and I learnt a lot about my bloody wonderful body.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laara

    Funny and educational. A must read for women in this world.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Sevitt

    I thought this was really strong and only slightly undermined by the comedian's need to crack wise and break the fourth wall in every paragraph. The paradox, of course, is that I might never have picked it up at all if the author wasn't familiar to me as a comedian and if I hadn't heard her being interviewed about books and her reading. There is a hard-to-balance relationship on display here between the lived experience and the scientific curiosity. Pascoe habitually overshares but unlike other c I thought this was really strong and only slightly undermined by the comedian's need to crack wise and break the fourth wall in every paragraph. The paradox, of course, is that I might never have picked it up at all if the author wasn't familiar to me as a comedian and if I hadn't heard her being interviewed about books and her reading. There is a hard-to-balance relationship on display here between the lived experience and the scientific curiosity. Pascoe habitually overshares but unlike other comedians the goal here is universalization rather than simply, "Me, me, me." Ego and empathy combine to make something compelling and non-judgmental and, most importantly, interesting. There are times when it gets a little preachy, but I may not be the target audience and having a voice you can trust tell you things you need to hear, may not be the worst idea imaginable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beth (bibliobeth)

    I am so happy that I finally got round to reading this book. I had it on my Amazon wishlist for so long, eventually bought it then it stared at me from my bookshelves for months before I gave in to its demanding "read me!" pleas and cracked it open. Now I had an inkling before I started that I was going to love this wonderfully funny piece of non-fiction but I couldn't have anticipated just how much that would be. Sara Pascoe, a British comedian hits the nail on the head every single time when s I am so happy that I finally got round to reading this book. I had it on my Amazon wishlist for so long, eventually bought it then it stared at me from my bookshelves for months before I gave in to its demanding "read me!" pleas and cracked it open. Now I had an inkling before I started that I was going to love this wonderfully funny piece of non-fiction but I couldn't have anticipated just how much that would be. Sara Pascoe, a British comedian hits the nail on the head every single time when she talks about the female body, sexuality and gender inequality and I found myself nodding along on multiple occasions completely enamoured with every tidbit of information she shared with me, some of it incredibly personal things relating to her own experiences. The tagline for this book is "Autobiography Of A Female Body," and that's the perfect way to describe it if you're wondering what this book is about. After an entertaining, short and snappy little introduction about Sara and her reasons for writing the book it is divided into a few different sections - love, the female body and the very important issue of consent. Each section has a wealth of useful and often hilarious information, some of which Sara has researched for the purpose of the book and knowledge that she has amassed from her own life experiences. Filled with Sara's trademark wit and down to earth approach it's an honest, uplifting and at times, incredibly poignant look into what life as a woman is really like. I honestly can't believe it took me so long to pick up this book and I'm so glad it lived up to every single one of my (very high) expectations. I have seen Sara live before and really enjoyed it but felt I got to explore her personality at a much deeper and more intimate level with Animal. It was side-splittingly funny, sure - that's to be expected from a comedian surely? However, I wasn't prepared for how emotional it would also make me feel, particularly in the final section when Sara explores consent, rape and the (hugely flawed in my opinion) British justice system for rape victims. I finished the book filled with a strange sense of pride for being a woman and a tentative hope for the future where women will be on a more equal footing with men. Please don't shy away from this book thinking it might not be for you if you are a man as well, this book does not discriminate on gender (unlike the world we live in today!) and I think it's a hugely important read for both men and women. I laughed my head off, felt instantly more empowered and learned a few things too. For example, did you realise that modern technology is leading to the death of the glow bug population? Apparently, the male glow bugs keep trying to mate with the street lights thinking it's a female glow bug and are obviously unsuccessful! Thank you Sara Pascoe for that fantastic little nugget of information that I can pull out at random moments! Personally, I think this is such a vitally important book that needs to be read by as many people as possible and I can't recommend it highly enough. It has recently been announced by Faber that Sara will be writing a follow up book about masculinity and considering the brilliance that was Animal, I'll be first in the queue! For my full review and many more please visit my blog at http://www.bibliobeth.com

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kahn

    I genuinely didn't know what I was getting in to when I picked up this book - I mean, I like books, I think Sara is hilarious, this was going to be an absolute hoot right? Well... ...erm... ...yes... ...but also no. You see, rather than just writing about her life, Sara decided to tackle something far simpler - the politics, culturalisation and appropriation of the female body and related sexy times. Light on laughs, you'd think, but Pascoe is both a gifted writer and a gifted comedian (or "female com I genuinely didn't know what I was getting in to when I picked up this book - I mean, I like books, I think Sara is hilarious, this was going to be an absolute hoot right? Well... ...erm... ...yes... ...but also no. You see, rather than just writing about her life, Sara decided to tackle something far simpler - the politics, culturalisation and appropriation of the female body and related sexy times. Light on laughs, you'd think, but Pascoe is both a gifted writer and a gifted comedian (or "female comedian" to give her the standard industry disclaimer), and she knows how to tackle this stuff. She does, however, get off to a sticky start. Now this may well be a gender thing, or a personal thing (t'other half told me I was totally wrong and didn't get the section on 'love' - I'm sure this bodes well for the future, nowt to fret about there...), but the opening section is an uncomfortable mix of the personal and the factual. Sara almost lays herself too bare in drawing from personal experience to illustrate some of the points she's making (and I say that now knowing just how personal she gets later on in the book). However, once we hit the section on Body, Pascoe's in top gear and racing off into the distance. Her passion for her subject screams off the page and the laughter is perfectly timed to alleviate the heavier moments. This is an important book for any number of reasons, but if I had to pick one it's the fact it speaks to everyone. Sara has important things to say about sex, consent, body shaming, the right to choose — and she's trying to make a difference and help people. And the best way to help her achieve that is that EVERYONE reads this book. There are men who need to know about consent, there are women who need to know that they're not alone, there are boys and girls who need to know how to actually behave around each other (especially boys), and this book provides much of the guidance for a better world. A good book will make you laugh, or cry, or get angry because it's made you care, or think and form new ideas and opinions. A great book will do all of these things. This is a great book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This was such a good book that I've already bought a copy for a friend. I think Sara talks about the female body in such an accessible way that so many people will be able to relate to. I've not really watched much comedy from her so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it! This was such a good book that I've already bought a copy for a friend. I think Sara talks about the female body in such an accessible way that so many people will be able to relate to. I've not really watched much comedy from her so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it!

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