Friday, January 20, 2017

Asking For It

Title: Asking For It

Author: Louise O'Neill

First Published: September 3rd 2015

Series: Stand Alone

Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary

Available As: Hardcover, paperback, ebook

Pages: 346

My Copy: Physical copy 

My Overall Rating: 9/10

Goodreads Summary
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 am at loss for words after finishing this book. This book tore at my heartstrings and I was filled with conflicting feelings on Emma and more thoughts on the topic of rape and social media. There are strong and recurring themes of rape, slut-shaming and victim-blaming, so do not read this book if you are uncomfortable with these themes.

First of all, Emma is not a nice person. She's a terrible friend, cruel and self-centred. It's really difficult to like Emma at the start of the book, and you can tell almost immediately that something horrifying is going to happen to her. Leading up to the rape, Emma is drunk and high - and I was basically screaming at the pages for Emma not to do such an idiotic thing. No such luck, of course. Then after it, there is a period of time where Emma thinks that if she ignores the whole situation, it will just go away. She laughs it off and then finds herself in a dilemma when she wants to sue her rapists. A year after the rape, we can clearly see that Emma isn't faring so well - she's depressed, she's suicidal... It's a complete different Emma now. She's slowly falling apart and being blamed by everyone is not helping. She's lost support from her friends, her family, even the local priest, because no one believes her!  The only people who have hope in her are her brother and her childhood friend - both which Emma actively pushes away. She doesn't want pity, she wants it all to end.

You would think parents would side with their own children, but apparently not. I was quite angry when her parents seemed to blame Emma for being raped, because that just makes things worse! Her mom complains that Emma ruined her life, and her dad doesn't want to have anything to do with her. How heartbreaking it must be to have your family - the people who are supposed to have your back - to turn on you over something you can't control.

This book was written so well because it explores how cruel society is towards rape victims and how most of the time, the majority sides with the rapist without knowing all the facts. The huge reason why no one believes Emma is that she has a bad reputation - she's slept with tons of guys before. I think this is the part that made me the most angry and the injustice of society really hits at this moment, you can just imagine all the unknown girls out there who don't get justice just because of their reputation. If you're known to be "sleeping around", then who's to believe you when you say rape? This is seen in Asking For It, when people send harassing messages to Emma, telling her that she deserved it, that she's a slut, that she should go kill herself. No one believes Emma, no one cares how she feels. Throughout the course of the book, it really provokes unanswerable questions. Is our world really this cruel? Why do people refuse to believe rape survivors? Why is it when a woman has sex, she's automatically labelled as a slut?

I was slightly upset when Emma decided to withdraw her request for prosecution. She just doesn't want to go to court over it. A recurring thought is that she's afraid she'll ruin other people's lives. I felt that Emma could have been a much stronger woman, but I guess that change of heart wouldn't be very realistic in her case. Like I said before, Emma was selfish and egoistical in the beginning, and being a "role model" or "hero" to other girls wouldn't have fit in her case. Even in the end, she wishes that someone else would go through the same process as her just so she wouldn't feel alone.

Overall, this was a very powerful book, and there is no sugar-coating the subject. This is the type of writing that we need - not the ones where it dances around the subject without really getting to the point. I would recommend this book for everyone.

My Chosen Quote
“They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.”


  1. This book is really high on my tbr list! It sounds like a hard book to read, but I believe its message is really important! Amazing review Cloe, I really like it when we read a book and it made us think :)

    1. Yes! This book is definitely worth the read, no matter how emotionally straining it is!


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