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Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  6,185 ratings  ·  454 reviews
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
Paperback, 328 pages
Published April 21st 2016 by Faber & Faber
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,185 ratings  ·  454 reviews

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Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Emmy Gregory
May 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Michael Legge
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm glad he dies in the end.
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sarra O'donnell
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Grace Croset
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Caroline Ellis-Ballinger
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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!!
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
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
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.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audibook
A 4.5* read for me and a brilliant audiobook version. Sara Pascoe talks through the history of woman and growing up as girl. It is witty, poignant and at times appropriately angry at the gender imbalance women still face today. Pascoe is honest about how events in her life as a girl and woman have shaped the person she is today. Brilliantly narrated by the author herself
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
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 ...more
Rob Adey
Apr 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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.
Zabrina Welter
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's a book that every woman and man should read... hilarious and in many ways a sexual education handbook for the 21st century.
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
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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.
Katie Leach
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Izzi Douet
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked 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!
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Funny and educational.
A must read for women in this world.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's been such a long time since I laughed out loud while reading a book, thank you very much!
Louise Jones
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, funny, relatable, and I learnt a lot about my bloody wonderful body.
Beth (bibliobeth)
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
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?
...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
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Sara Patricia Pascoe) is an English comedian and actress. She has appeared on TV programmes such as 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown for Channel 4, and Taskmaster for digital channel Dave.

Twitter @sarapascoe

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