Saturday, 9 January 2016

Asking For It - Louise O'Neill

It's been a while since I reviewed a book on my blog because, frankly, it's been a while since I read a book! But Christmas always renews my love of reading and this year has been no exception. I've read a few books in the last couple of weeks but none have made me think quite as much as Asking For It by Louise O'Neill has done, so I thought I'd revive book posts with one all about it!

I heard about it originally from a video done by Hannah Witton saying that they would be reading it as part of their book club this month and I decided to download it on my Kindle after finding the synopsis interesting - and never thinking of it again! But after having finished the book I was reading this morning, I decided to start something new and that was the first one on the list I saw so I decided to go for it. 6 hours later, and I've finished it.

To give you a bit of an insight, the synopsis of the book is:
'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... '

As you can imagine, this book comes with many a trigger warning and is not really for the faint hearted or a young reader so that is definitely something to watch out for if you're thinking of reading it. The book handles a very sensitive issue and I think Louise O'Neill does it with so much skill and - bold claim here - I think she's captured what it's like to be a teenager in the modern age better than any book I've read in a long time. She doesn't shy away from the aspect of social media that has so much of an effect on our generation that I don't personally believe can be found in many books to date. For me, that just made the whole thing feel so much more real and increased my empathy for the main character.

If you've read any other reviews of this book online, there's a common theme in most of them - the anger this book creates. And quite rightly so. Without trying to spoil anything, this book doesn't end with a typical 'happily ever after' and whilst I'm grateful for that as it only increases the 'raw' feeling you're left with at the end of it, it means you never come to terms with what happens in the book. Although I suppose that was carefully crafted by Louise O'Neill - if a victim can never come to terms with these things, why should I reader be able to?

I think this book was definitely necessary in our society, if I'm honest. I'm hoping the increasing popularity of Asking For It and the overwhelming feelings it leaves with the reader will only help to increase the conversations happening about a variety of topics - from abuse, to victim blaming; slut shaming to cyber bullying and privacy.

If you're on the fence about this book, I honestly couldn't recommend it highly enough. It didn't make me laugh, it didn't make me cry. But it made me feel so many other things.

1 comment

  1. I've never heard of this book before but it sounds like a good read. You're so good at writing book reviews, I always struggle so much to write them and I'm not sure why!x


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