JL has said this book was written quickly, and it really shows. The old adage "write what you know" makes me wonder... does JL even know any women? Phoebe has to be the least successful woman protagonist written by a man in many years. She seems like a moronic and horny18 year old male, not a 35 year old woman veteran of the NYTimes. The plot is preposterous - at best - and reads like a first draft in a low-rent writing workshop. Hard to believe the publisher read anything but the author's name, and as for the editing... well, I once edited a book written by a friend and it was so incredibly badly written I simply gave up. Apparently this one did, too.
Just before starting Feral, I finished Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies) and enjoyed the women characters and their relationships immensely. The contrast was striking, and made Feral seem even more appalling. There wasn't a single interaction between Phoebe and another woman (we won't even consider how she relates to men) that seemed even vaguely plausible.
Lethem needs to put some red meat back in his diet, or resist submitting such drivel for publication. Interesting that of the 4 blurbs on the back cover, I had never heard of 3 of the authors - and I read a LOT, 150-200 books a year for the last 5 decades at least.