Monday, 30 November 2015
"Asking For It" by Louise O Neill | Book Review
It's officially, 100% Winter! That annual magical feeling of numb fingers and sniffle-ly noses is in the air! So, what could be better than cosy-ing up by the fire with a cup of tea and a book? Not much, at least in my mind!
That being said, the book that I'll be reviewing today isn't an uplifting or amiable one. "Asking for It" by Irish author, Louise O' Neill deals with quite a serious, heavy hearted topic; sexual consent and a society's response to rape. This is Louise O' Neill's second novel, her first being "Only Ever Yours" which I am eager to read after finishing this one.
The story centres around Emma, a popular, confident but unlikeable 18 year old who is the face of beauty. One summer night, there is a house party and the village's local heroes are there. Emma goes along with one of these boys and then wakes up on her porch without any memory of the night before. She cruelly discovers what happens that night through social media and the whispers of her school mates. The story goes on to show how her friends and neighbours desert her and chose to ignore the crimes committed by their prized GAA players.
Honestly, when I finished the last page of this book (which I read in a matter of hours, that really just says it all), I was speechless. I didn't know how I felt. Most of all, I was shaken. It didn't take much stretch of the imagination to see this sort of thing happen in my own local town. It hard to read the stark and harsh truth about something that is shrouded in secrecy and shame in today's world, especially in Ireland. The hardest part of reading this book was the ending. In a story where it all seems to be doom and gloom, we hope for a happy ending. But unfortunately, this isn't a fairytale, it's a story of real life events and real life doesn't always have a fairytale ending. This book showed me that when dealing with rape, there are no winners, just lives changed forever.
I think this is a book everyone should read. Male or female, young or old, it is relevant to you. It raises so many poignant questions about social media, double standards and society as a whole. It gets us to think about how rape victims are treated and how they are marginalised in society.
Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.