Title: Asking for It
Author: Louise O’Neill
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Young Adult
Published: September 2015
Emma O’Donovan is a happy, confident 18 year old girl who has her whole life ahead of her. It’s the start of summer and she has so much to look forward to but all it took was one night at a party to change everything including her future. The next morning she wakes up on her doorstop having no idea how she got there or what happened at the party until she looks on Facebook to find photos showing the horrific incident that makes Emma want to disappear forever. Louise highlights a number of controversial issues including sexual consent, mental health, self-harm and social media.
Emma is a character I found difficult to like at first as she’s very much the selfish, popular teenage girl. She tends to belittle her friends, especially Ali and Maggie, as a way to try be the centre of attention which you can tell is related to her low self-esteem. She wants the reader to know all the plans she has including going to university and how invincible she thinks she is. Her world get turns upside after that one party. I felt deeply sad after finding out she was raped by a group of boys from her school and just how brutal it really was. The photos of it all being splashed online and the reactions it left just added more frustration that leads the people in her life go from supportive and loving to distant and neglectful. Not only is the reader seeing it from Emma’s perspective, they’re also being showed how her family, friends and the neighbours in her town react to the news through Emma’s eyes and ears. A lot of victim blaming occurs as the majority pass the blame on Emma for being drunk and on drugs which underlines questions of consent and shows how bad the society tend to fail victims of sexual assault. By the end I almost felt the need to cry as there’s no happy ending for many of the characters, including Emma. However I did appreciate how Louise left the characters as it was very realistic, even if it was harsh and terrifying.
“They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.”
Louise has written another brilliant emotional book that makes the reader think about tough situations and leaves them with some questions of their own to answer – which are always the best in my opinion! I won’t lie it was a difficult read at times. Louise didn’t sugar coat it in any way but it’s something I believe everyone needs to read. Be prepared to have your heart strings tugged at and keep some tissues with you at an arm’s length.
What did you think of the book? If you haven’t read it before, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Comment below letting me know either way as I’m interested to know what everyone else thinks of this! I hope you enjoyed my book review (it’s been way too long since my last one) and I’ll be back with another post soon 🙂