Book Review

Asking for It

Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
Release: September 3, 2015
Publisher: Quercus UK


Louise O'Neill, ASKING FOR ITIt’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

I’m going to start by stating my love and devotion to Louise O’Neill. I will bow down to this woman and kiss her feet, that is how much I love her writing!

I have this weird fascination with stories about sexual assault. I can’t really explain it, I just like seeing different perspectives on the issues and seeing survivors, well, surviving. It’s just – this story. Agh! I need a moment to compose, here.

Emma O’Donovan is popular, she’s the life of the party, and – dare I say it – she’s that girl you wouldn’t mind watching fall from her pedestal. One day she wakes up on the front porch of her house with no recollection of how she got there or what happened. She remembers a party, she remembers going, she doesn’t remember anything else. But there are pictures plastered on the internet showing exactly what happened to her. Then flash forward a year and we start to see the trial and her retreat into herself. She stops going to school, jeopardizing her actually graduating, and she’s lost all contact with her friends because everyone thinks she’s lying.

I’m sure my dislike for this tale is from my own bias – so let me just put that out there and get into the story.

Louise O’Neill, again, I worship this woman and will read anything she releases. After Only Ever Yours, I’m now a big fan – lead me to the books! That beings said, I wanted to read this before Only Ever Yours but somehow misplaced it in my many piles of books.

In Asking For It, it was so real, so understandable, and like you were living with Emma, seeing everything happening firsthand. I could feel the resentment others held toward the character as if I were trying to defend my own friend. As a person affected by, lack for another term, rape culture, as a woman, this book succeeds in making you cringe, in making you cry, in making you want to stand up and fight for every right that’s been wronged.

Asking For It fills you with a need to protect Emma even when she doesn’t want to protect herself. This is a book that makes readers feel something deep within themselves.


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