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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  5,057 ratings  ·  374 reviews
It is the moment every twenty-something must confront: the time to grow up. Adulthood looms, with all it's numbing tranquility and stifling complacency. The end of prolonged adolescence is near.

Laura and Tyler are two women whose twenties have been a blur of overstayed parties, a fondness for drugs that has shifted from cautious experimentation to catholic indulgence, and
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Europa Editions (first published May 1st 2014)
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Rachel I know you posted this a while ago, but my suggestions would be: Friendship by Emily Gould
Bad Timing by Kate le Vann
Slipstream by Kate Bingham…more
I know you posted this a while ago, but my suggestions would be: Friendship by Emily Gould
Bad Timing by Kate le Vann
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Average rating 3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,057 ratings  ·  374 reviews

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Paul Bryant
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This unexpectedly wonderful (and please note extremely vulgar) novel is being bandied around as “Withnail with girls”. That’s the quote on the front. For those who do not know the cult 1987 British movie Withnail and I you should know that Withnail, a skeletal out of work actor, exists in only three conditions; first is drunk, in which he says things like

We've gone on holiday by mistake.

Or (whilst driving)

Look at this : accident blackspot! These aren't accidents, they're throwing themselves into
Dec 08, 2015 rated it liked it
It is 4º in Brooklyn right now—record-breaking, life-threatening (sez the mayor!), tooth-rattlingly cold. When I walk my poor little pups, the pee arcs out of them already in icicles. I'm a big fan of winter, but this is preposterous.

So I did the only sensible thing: I canceled all my fabulous Saturday-night pre-Valentine's party plans, laid in provisions, roasted a giant panful of veggies, and read a whole book, cover to cover, while eating too much chocolate. It was kind of a fabulously decad
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘You know how it is. Saturday afternoon. You wake up and you can’t move’

Laura is caught between two worlds. One the one hand, she is engaged to Jim, a concert pianist with a budding international career, and a nice flat in the centre of town; on the other, her best friend and housemate Tyler is an uninhibited force of nature, ‘by turns many things: nemesis, ally, co-conspirator, master of persuasion’. Laura is working on a novel, Bacon, about a priest who falls in love with a talking pig, but pr
So, I finally read this, after two years of it hovering near the top of my to-read list. It's hard to explain why I didn't make a stab at it before now - something to do with the weight of expectation, I suppose, and perhaps something to do with feeling I needed to be in the right mood or frame of mind. In any case, a holiday seemed like perfect timing. I thought, after all this waiting, I might merely like it, which was in itself a dismaying prospect, but no, I loved it. Here's what I wrote in ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
Instead of Animals, Emma Jane Unsworth's novel could have been called Insufferable People. I couldn't stand the characters. They were annoying and irredeemable. And my tolerance for "unlikable" characters is high; difficult characters are often some of my favorites. But I hated this novel.

Animals is narrated by Laura. She lives in Manchester, England, with her American best friend Tyler. Laura and Tyler have been partners in crime for ten years, drinking liberally and doing lots of drugs. The tw
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, library
Originally posted at

Let me start off with a bit of a warning. Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth) is not for everyone, and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. (Mom – you’re not going to like this book…..) Honestly, I am not even sure how much I like it. I mean I do like it, I really like it… but it’s kind of terrifying. It’s like someone took my early 20s and put them on crack and ecstasy and then flipped it all around til all I want to do is vomit. And that’s lit
"It was ok", as a 2 star rating. I think, perhaps, I read this too soon after The Animators, another novel centred on female friendship. I really enjoyed the writing style here, but I think the narrative and, most importantly, the friendship between Laura and Tyler got lost somewhere along the way. It's vulgar and chaotic; I think it could have been a bit more subtle and ended in a less rushed and predictable manner. Both of them are obnoxious to the extreme, and the scenes where they were eithe ...more
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
had mixed feelings about this book based around Manchester, bits I liked it and others not
Nov 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea what this book was about.
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two women careen through life. This book is a visceral celebration of the joys of a great extended bender, but also of the pathos the hangover that ensues. Loved it.
Alison Munn
So disappointed as I really looked forward to reading this. The concept sounded so good. Execution not so much. The key characters are so unlikeable especially when you see zero character development the whole way through the book. There’s barely a plot. What it’s like is being along for the ride as the one sober person while people you kinda don’t like get wasted on a mixture of drugs and booze. You cringe inside as they do embarrassing things and try to pretend you’re listening to what sounds ...more
Mekhala Pande
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Way I see it, girls are tied to beds for two reasons: sex and exorcisms. So, which was it with you?"

The coming-of-age tale of our two anti-heroines opens with this wonderfully strange scene and you're hooked.

Laura and Tyler are two women immersed in a mutually-assured-destructive and highly co-dependent relationship with each other fuelled by a zealous love for alcohol, hard drugs and late-night raucous adventures.

However, our narrator, Laura is at a crossroad in her life now, as she tries to j
Pickle Farmer
A fun cathartic read. I like that the protagonist was still drinking in the end and that her journey as a character didn't necessarily equal complete 100% sobriety. The shameless energy and unabashed drive in this book was very refreshing to me. ...more
Anne-Marie Sims
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
'Shall we get another drink?' I said.
'Yes, more drink. More everything. There's a party going on not too far away if you fancy it. New friend of mine. An artist. I've got something in my pocket.' I looked at her. Of course: the whole conversation had been an elaborate preamble. Tyler
was good: talking about parties made you want to party. I felt like it by then--I felt as though (oh, the justifications, they come like flying monkeys through the window) getting lost somewhere together might be go
It's been a few days since I finished this book and sadly, I haven't really thought about it as much as I'd hoped.

Reading Animals was a bit like spending a little too much time on a rollercoaster. At first it was fun and exhilarating, but by the end I felt a little bit nauseous and ready for it to end.

But by no means do I say that to put you off, as I would definitely recommend this book. Emma Jane Unsworth is a fantastic writer and has no qualms about getting real. In fact, the lack of airs and
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely devoured this book, it has had me laughing on a train journey, wriggling around in bed in discomfort, and examining my own past friendships with more clarity. The women it centres around are vulgar and provocative and they drink enough to sink a ship but they are also damaged and dealing with the traumas that come with life. The writing is superb, nothing but praise for Emma Jane Unsworth!
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Proof that if you shake together a cocktail of sex, drugs, drinking, more drugs, violence, more drinking, swearing, more sex, more drugs and yet more drinking on top... it’s very boring. Actually, that’s not entirely true - Edward St Aubyn’s Bad News is incredibly funny and that’s essentially just describing a weekend-long drug binge. So maybe it comes down to the quality of the writing. And on that score, Animals is pretty terrible. Clunky and hackneyed. And dull.

Fortunately, despite that, it’
Amanda Gegg
Having found myself in many a situation not too dissimilar to Tyler and Laura - albeit notably less extreme - I found that 'Animals' was everything I expected it to be but in some ways a complete surprise.

I was absolutely blown away by the artistic yet abstract prose, which was clearly thought out with the utmost strategy to define these characters' personalities despite the whirlwind of their drink and drug-fuelled lives. This is definitely a book that makes you want to put pen to paper and rec
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, library
Really enjoyed the style of writing, and found parts of it incredibly relatable (in a bad way). If you have been a teenager/university student in the UK then the drinking culture and relentless going out portrayed here along with the things Tyler and Lo get up to may hit a bit close to home, albeit a bit more extreme than my own experience.

I have to say it did take a while to feel like all of this was going anywhere when probably around 3/4 of the book was spent following Tyler and Lo either get
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: idle-readers
Oof I really wanted to like this more than I did. Yes there are elements of nostalgia it brings up, and I can visualise it all taking place in Manchester really well, but I just feel that not a lot happened. They got trashed, they felt awful, repeat. The last 40-50 pages picked it up a level and we got a bit more substance, but I just didn’t feel much other than a bit of revulsion along the way. Ending was predictable and all just a bit meh.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book features some really funny moments and was generally a great read. Its humour didn't take anything away from its emotional depth and dealings with conflicting relationships. Also, as a Manchester resident, I really enjoyed its references to the city and nightlife.

My only real criticism would be Unsworth's writing style. Whilst the book is a generally laid-back read and Unsworth is a good writer, the writing seems a bit 'try hard'. I feel Unsworth should have allowed the characters and
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nailed it. "It"= that crazy insidious friend dynamic between young, unattached women who've become, essentially, life partners who enable each other's fuckups even as they're getting way too old for it. And then one becomes attached, and the shiz hits the fan. On top of all the prurient interest of reading about two codependent train wrecks, the writing is beautiful. Can't wait to read more from Unsworth. ...more
Rachael Eyre
Is the film markedly different from the book? The angle that drew me in - "best friend has the fiancé from hell" - wasn't reflected by the novel, which is narrated by Laura. It made me feel swindled, to be honest.

It's been described as a female Withnail and I, but it was more like the Britcom Bottom, with a pair of sleazy and unlikable leads leading debauched, pointless lives. I didn't find it shocking or provocative, just sad.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Genuinely one of the worst books I've ever read. Indulgent, offensive, smug - I loathed all the characters and the writing was just plain bad. Too many adverbs. Terrible stuff, terrible ...more
Katja (Life and Other Disasters)
If you liked this book, good for you! But I, for one, am just so relieved to be done with it. Every chapter was an accumulation of drinking, drugs, bad life choices and the same all over again and again and again. I don't know what the point was and I neither felt invested in the friendships nor any other relationships. ...more
Nov 24, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
3️⃣: joyless, tragic, repetitive

Reading this book was like taking a 2 hour bus journey to a party you don't want to go to, only to find when you get there that everyone is already fucked and there's no more alcohol or drugs for you. The two main characters were obnoxious and self-involved, repeating patterns of self-destruction again and again and again. Don't get me wrong, I usually love it when authors describe 20/30 somethings monging out in dirty flats, hungover and eating grated cheese with
Jun 09, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Reminded me of Marion Keyes tbh. Not sure why I read it.
Lisa Bentley
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine what it would be like to have to constantly choose between your fiancé and your soul mate. This is the ever present predicament for Laura Joyce. She is engaged to Jim, dependable, clever and creative yet her best friend (and resident wild child) Tyler keeps pulling her to the dark (and arguably more fun) side.

The lifestyles chosen by Tyler and Jim couldn’t be more different and whilst Laura should be a natural balance between the both of them things just do not work out that way. When La
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Lives in Manchester, England.

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