Young Adult

Review – Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

AFIAsking For It by Louise O’Neill
Publisher: Quercus (3rd Sept 2015)

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…

I read Louise O’Neill’s stunning debut novel, Only Ever Yours earlier this year and it disgusted me so much, I liked it. It moved and affected me so much upon finishing it. When I got the opportunity to read her next book, Asking For It, I just couldn’t say no, now can I?

The book focuses on one of the most taboo topics today: rape. It’s gritty and unforgiving, the way Louise O’Neill writes from the eyes of Emma, an arrogant, vain and utterly despicable protagonist who you will want to hate her. A flawed character with such insecurities that you really have buckets of sympathy for her poor soul. I guess it’s out in the open. Yes, Emma is raped. And she wasn’t “asking for it”. When one party doesn’t agree to intercourse, it’s considered rape. That’s what happened to Emma. She got raped. By a few guys. She is then slammed and labelled as a slut, whore, bitch.

The topic of rape is rather difficult to tackle and that’s what Louise O’Neill decided to do when she wrote Asking For It. With her razor sharp style, Louise O’Neill writes a story of a girl who “got what she deserved”, reflecting on society’s view on rape. She shouldn’t have drank. She shouldn’t have dressed like a tramp. She shouldn’t have taken drugs. She’s a slut, bitch, whore. Once again, Louise O’Neill has evoked feelings of disgust in me when I was reading Asking For It which is as brutal as it is thought-provoking.

Although I enjoyed reading it, I didn’t particularly love it. I felt that the book was a bit sluggish at certain parts and it could have been better paced. The whole “everyone is going to talk, it’s a small town” thing was quite frustrating. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Asking For It touches on cyber-bullying when explicit photos of Emma are posted on Facebook but what really annoyed me was the lack of reaction from the town folk. Literally, no one sided with Emma when she was shunted by everyone, even when the evidence were blatantly there for all to see.

I’d like to thank Pansing for sending me a copy for review.

1 thought on “Review – Asking For It by Louise O’Neill”

  1. Great review, I love books that tackles hard topics as they open up a discussion. Sorry to hear that the pacing didn’t quite work for you, though!


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