29 August 2016

ARC Review: Asking For It, Louise O'Neill

Asking For It

Title: Asking For It
Author: Louise O'Neill
Published: 14/07/2016, riverrun
Pages: 344
Source: Netgalley
Format: Ebook

Rating: 4.5/5

"FROM THE WINNER OF THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR AWARD. It'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..."

Asking For It is most definitely one of the hardest books I have ever read. It is absolutely horrific and is definitely not a fun, light-hearted read. It is brutal. But, of course, rape is horrific. This is not an enjoyable read, but it is a must-read.

I'm ashamed to say that Asking For It feels all too real. It is far too common place for people to blame the victim purely because of the way they dress, or act, or even how they treat other people. And Emma is not a likable character. She was popular, sure, but the furthest from likable I could think of. And, unfortunately, she ticks all the boxes which lead to her whole hometown blaming her for being raped.

To be honest, Asking For It is riddled with unlikable characters - it's not just Emma. Everyone is just so shallow. And so quick to blame even when they've seen all the evidence supporting Emma.

Throughout the whole book I can think of only one character that I actually liked. That's Bryan, Emma's brother. He is the only one who wholeheartedly supports and believes Emma. I honestly think he would walk to the ends of the earth to get Emma justice. However, I also think he feels quite guilty as he was supposed to be "watching" Emma at the time of her attack.

Asking For It is told from Emma's perspective bother around the time of her attack and then a year later. This is a fantastic way of showing how such an awful ordeal affects someone both physically and mentally.

I wouldn't say Asking For It is a predictable story per se, but you can guess what might happen. However, there is no way of really knowing how such a horrific experience will affect someone as I suspect everyone would have different coping mechanisms (if that makes sense?). It's unthinkable.

The ending left me frustrated to say the least. But it's realistic and, therefore, I can't fault it. There is no happy ending for girls like Emma. They have to live with their ordeal for the rest of their lives and the majority of the time there is no closure.

I cannot recommend Asking For It highly enough. True, it's a horrific story, but it's just so relevant and needs to be read. Will I ever read it again? Definitely not. I don't think I could put myself through such a difficult read again. But I will definitely be reading more by Louise O'Neill.

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1 comment:

  1. I read Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours and absolutely loved it, so I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed this one too. It sounds like such an important and emotional story, and I am definitely going to have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage


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