In a small town where everyone knows everyone, Emma O'Donovan is different. She is the special one - beautiful, popular, powerful. And she works hard to keep it that way. Until that night.... Now she's an embarrassment. Now she's just a slut. Now she is nothing. And those pictures - those pictures that everyone has seen - mean she can never forget.
For fans of Caitlin Moran, Marian Keyes and Jodi Picoult. The award-winning, best-selling novel about the life-shattering impact of sexual assault, rape and how victims are treated.
Louise O' Neill is from Clonakilty, in west Cork. After graduating with a BA in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin, she went on to complete a post-grad in Fashion Buying at DIT. Having spent a year in New York working for Kate Lanphear, the senior Style Director of ELLE magazine, she returned home to Ireland to write her first novel. She went from hanging out on set with A-list celebrities to spending most of her days in pyjamas while she writes, and has never been happier.
“My body is not my own any more. They have stamped their names all over it.”
Everybody must read this. It should be read in school, uni, book clubs. By parents and by teenagers. By you! This is a highly underrated novel and needs way more attention.
This was incredible. I can't say I enjoyed reading it, because I did not. It made me feel uneasy, uncomfortable, queasy, angry, sad, and very very hopeless. The writing itself is awesome, the characters intruiging. You don't really bond with them, because they're mean, arrogant and selfish. But this perspective is so surprising that it made me want to read more and more. The ending was disappointing on one hand, but on the other hand the best way to end it.
Rape culture is a thing, an ugly one and it needs to be acknowledged and fought.
I reviewed Louise O'Neill's Only Ever Yours in August and put Asking For It straight on the top of my TBR. I knew it was going to be difficult, powerful and much-needed even before I started. It's the perfect choice for my book club because we're all sure to have a lot to say.
Asking For It is about what happens to eighteen-year-old student Emma O'Donovan after she is raped at a party by a group of boys on the school football team. She doesn't understand what's happened to her, until photos of that night are shared on Facebook. I thought Asking For It was going to be straightforward, but Louise O'Neill makes Emma an unlikeable character. She's vain, self-centred, hurtful and judgemental. She's not someone you would want to know, let alone be friends with. Most – sadly, not all – people would be outraged to discover that a boy had attacked an 'innocent' young girl on her way home, especially if she was in a private school uniform; if she was covered up. But what if she was wearing a short dress? What if she was drunk? What if she was over 18? What if she made a move first? Would we say she was asking for it? This is what Louise O'Neill wants to fight against.
I knew Asking For It was going to be a difficult read, but I also knew that it was extremely important that I read it. Asking For It addresses so many aspects of our lives that are often left unquestioned. It tackles how awful and judgemental people can be towards each other, even when we as readers can see who's in the right and feel it should be evident. How people struggle to understand consent and what exactly constitutes rape, especially as Emma herself doesn't realise she's been raped until the teacher suggests it. I thought it was interesting to see the portrayal of social media and traditional media, both shown as a tool for abuse and as a tool to give people a voice. Support for rape victims on social media seems wonderful and essential. But if you're the victim, it can be intrusive having people tell your story for you, and this isn't something that had ever occurred to me. Would I want everyone talking about me, even if what they were saying was supportive?
Asking For It will make you angry, and rightly so. Louise O'Neill doesn't shy away from reality and, as with Only Ever Yours, doesn't tie up Asking For It with a happily ever after. Perhaps, instead of arguing about which classics should be taught in schools, we should be arguing that Asking For It should be taught alongside them. Even after so many years of education – from school to college to university – I have never within education participated in a conversation about rape. This must change. Let's talk.
"I cannot remember, so those photos and those comments have become my memories".
Asking For It will hit you hard in emotional places you didn’t even know you had. Louise O’Neill has some stark truths to put in front of us and boy does she do that without giving you ANY room to wriggle away or hide from them. This book SHOULD, assuming you are a human being, make you mad as all hell. Because sadly every single little bit of the story could be, has been and will be something that happens. Happened. Will happen again…unless we change an awful lot of attitudes.
We’ve all heard the term “Asking For It” right? And if you are honest you may have even thought about it in passing if observing an obviously drunk girl on the street especially if she is wearing something that dares to show a bit of skin. You don’t really MEAN it, but the thought or something similar may flit around in your subconcious. The problem being of course, not that you as a person are particularly horrible or unfeeling – but that this is the pervading attitude in our society that is ingrained at a very basic level and is taking WAY too long to disappear.
If you are going to take this issue and write a book that counts you are going to have to have an AMAZING amount of talent. Because anyone with any writing ability could have written the plot but not many writers would have the ability to make you feel it RIGHT IN YOUR GUT.
Not many writers would have had the audacity to create a character who is extraordinarily unlikeable, a “mean girl”, popular and unrelentingly selfish, have this horrible thing happen to her whilst she is incapable, through her own actions, of making considered decisions and then expect the reader to accept that it’s not her fault. BECAUSE IT IS NOT HER FAULT. You’ll get there. This author is not going to let you end up anywhere else…
It’s all in that deft touch you see. Telling the truth can be hard – when you are reading one of Ms O’Neill’s novels it is unrelenting, that scalpel that she writes with will cut deep and draw emotional blood. We meet Emma and her friends and the crowd they run with, we meet her Mother who has very firm idea’s of how a girl should look and how she should conduct herself – and her father who adores his little “princess”. Everyone loves Emma. Until she falls off her pedestal…
Following along for a year after the “event” we see the impact of social media, some very differing attitudes, we see inside Emma’s head and it is compelling, emotionally raw and absolutely authentic. She spirals, we spiral, heading towards an ending that is so brutally realistic that it will take your breath away. Louise O’Neill makes every word count. You won’t be able to look away but boy will you want to, will you want to hide under that duvet and pretend that the world is not actually this way, it can’t POSSIBLY be, we are enlightened this is 2015 after all.
Women are equal. If we want to drink as men do we can, no judgement. Right?
If we want to wear short skirts, high heels, flirt with the guys, give them a smile, that’s ok. Right?
Issues of consent. Issues of personal responsibility. Is there a line? Where is it?
The author asks these hard questions. Except really, as she gets across, they shouldn’t be hard questions at ALL. But it seems, in our world today, there are still those who question, when a sexual assault occurs, when a rape occurs, whether or not the victim may have been “Asking For It”.
This is some of the most brilliantly insightful writing I have come across. Ever. This should be on the national curriculum. I have no doubt that it will still be read in 100 years – HOPEFULLY as an insight for future generations into how we USED to be back when we were still learning.
One of the toughest reads of my life. As it should be.
Please read it.
"They are all innocent until proven guilty. Not me, I am a liar until I am proven honest."
also, note - im rating this for the book itself (i did not like the writing style, the abundance of characters and lack of evident transitions made it difficult to follow the story, i found the main character difficult to empathise with, etc.). if i was rating this based on the message alone, it would probably get four stars because i cannot state how important it is for a story like this to be told. sure, the execution wasnt for me, but that doesnt diminish the need for awareness in regards to situations like this. i would have liked to have seen a different ending - one that would have included justice for emma - but that doesnt always happen in real life. i understand how the focus was on emmas mental state, dealing with what happened to her and how to move on from something like this. these kind of situations dont just happen in books, they happen every day in real life.
With great hype come great expectations. It's fairly tough to try to ignore this book, especially in Ireland. It's being lauded as one of the greatest Irish novels in recent memory and all I will say to that is, "hmm".
While the message of this novel is very important I cannot say that the hype is deserved. To be perfectly honest I would have preferred if O'Neill had just penned an essay, an essay stating her views and the point she's trying to get across. I feel she couldn't wrap a successful narrative or plot around her views and thus this novel ultimately fails, it doesn't work.
The novel starts off slow and doesn't pick up any pace until the party scene. I feel that the party scene, being the most important scene, is actually better written than the rest of the novel. I can only presume that O'Neill paid special attention to this scene and spent a lot of time with it and that explains its triumph. It is a harrowing scene, and does capture the reader. After that, however, we fall into middling territory. I honestly feel I could have skipped 100-pages and wouldn't have missed anything.
I headed a book club discussion of this book in my university and a point that was made by everyone was that it does fall apart in the second half. There is a lot of repetition and it does get boring. However the majority of the group appreciated the book far more than I did, I was very much the outlier.
If there is one positive in this book it's O'Neill's wonderful ability to capture the essence of Irish teenhood. The book is set in Cork and I am a fellow Corkonian, still living in the county. It really is wonderful how O'Neill conveys the patois of Irish teenage girls.
However, in the end, it's a mess. The plot comes and goes and leaves the reader bored. The minor characters are but husks of personalities. It's getting two-stars for effortless mannerisms and vernacular which is some of the best I've read. Shame about the rest.
This book reminds me so much of this one girl I knew in college. No, she wasn’t raped. But there were pictures of her on the internet, all nude. I found out through my boyfriend at the time. One night he asked if there really was a girl name X at my college (we went to different ones) because his friend just forwarded an email with nude pictures of a girl with this name, who the email claimed goes to my college. I told him there was one, a senior and I didn’t really know her. I didn’t think anything of it, I’m pretty sure I laughed, feeling quite positive his friend was just full of shit.
But then he showed me these grainy black and white pictures in his email and holy christ, clear as day, it was her. She wasn’t unconscious in them but the quality was too poor for me to tell if she was actually high or anything. It was hella awful, I was convinced it was some revenge shit from someone she dated and broke up with because she was posing in these pictures. My ex said he would tell his friends to delete the email when I told him my theory. I doubted they would listen to him though because to them, this girl was just a stranger and may as well be another playboy model or something.
I never talked about those pictures to anyone, not even to my college friends. Because can you imagine how it would feel like?? Having someone, who pass you in the hall all of the time, studying in the same school, seeing you naked without your permission?? Fucking awful.
The kicker was later on that semester, someone mentioned this (and sort of confirmed that it was leaked bu her ex) when we were in class sitting in a group and one of my friends remarked that she thought it was already public knowledge at this point and I told her that I was sure it was a vicious rumor and that we shouldn’t help spread it. She was confused, said but it wasn’t a rumor, she saw the pictures. But even worse than that my friend called out to this senior guy who’s in girl X’s circle of friends and asked if we could see his phone, she told him “X’s pictures” Holy shit, the guy was her friend!! He was too happy to oblige my friend’s request too.
So now I was looking at these same nude pictures of one of my seniors on her supposedly friend’s phone. And I wondered what fucked up little world we actually lived it.
I was pissed on her behalf even though it wasn’t my business, we didn’t know each other, we never even spoke. Yet I found myself saying to this dude “I thought you guys were friends” he casually replied “Sure we are” and I said “then why do you have these on your phone?” My friend actually nudged me with her foot and the guy looked at me oddly, I figured out later that no one had probably ever said that to him before, so he just awkwardly putting his phone away and pretending to listen to the lecture, ignoring us.
After, my friend was asking me why I would be upset on X’s behalf since X was trying (and failed) to ‘bully’* me when I first started school here. I feel this needs an asterisk since it was ineffective mostly since I didn’t even realize at the time. So ‘tried to bully’ is more accurate here. It wasn’t physical, just sort of mean girl gossip when I walked by which I honestly never paid attention to until my friends told me after it had stopped, according to them. So that’s why my friend was surprised I would ‘stand up’ for her.
And my answer was so easy: I didn’t need to like her in order to know it was wrong how she was treated or to realize that these guys were being absolute assholes!
I really hope by having this book won a big award, it means a lot more people read it because I guess some people needs to experience it first hand albeit through character in book, in order to understand. Because my college friend sure couldn’t at the time!
Ps. It needs to be said that the book won my personal award for “The perfect ship that should have been but never was nor ever will be”.
Reviewing this book today is not any easier that it was days ago, when I finished reading it. But I know most of you must've heard what just happened to Kesha, who is being forced to work with the man who abused her physically and mentally. And even though I'm not a fan of her music, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because for how many times I try to convince myself that our society is different, that things are not how they used to be, that rape and abuse are taken seriously and that women can speak up and be heard, I'm lying to myself. Because even if you're rich and famous, you're still a woman, and people are going to ask you what were you wearing? Were you drinking? Did you take any drugs? Do you have evidence of what happened? Your word alone is not enough. Your pain is not enough. Because you're a woman, you're a slut bitch whore and you sure must've done something to make it happen. You're not even a victim, really, you're the instigator. You were asking for it.
This is a powerful book that I would recommend to anyone, men and women alike, and not just to us - the people who spend hours reading and reviewing and caring, and who usually are the first to call out on abuse and sexism in books and in real life. But we're so few. How many times have you heard your friends call a girl in shorts and high heels a "slut"? How many times have you heard someone joking about it, saying that she's "basically asking to be raped"? How many times have you received unwanted attention and have had to hide in the bathroom, to leave the room or the house or to seek the protection of your friends, because a guy couldn't take no for an answer, and you knew that if you stayed a little longer things could've gotten ugly? And how many of these times, hiding in that bathroom and staring at your reflection in the dirty mirror, have you thought that maybe you should've worn a longer dress? Rape culture is in every day of our lives, even if we sometimes do not realize it. O'Neill made a very brave decision, and didn't only write a book about a girl who was raped, but she wrote a book about a hateful, petty and jealous girl who was raped while she was drunk and high, and then tried to defend her own attackers and deny that anything happened, simply because she was too ashamed. Because the same thing happened to her friend, but she'd just told her to keep it quiet, because no one likes a girl who makes a fuss. Because we need to keep up the appearances, no matter how many ugly things lie beneath them. O'Neill wrote a book that makes us doubt ourselves. Emma is a terrible friend. She's a liar, a thief, she's manipulative and doesn't care about anyone but herself. Emma gets raped. Photos of what happened to her are all over the Internet, and suddenly her life turns into a nightmare. And all the while, she still keeps blaming herself because she thinks she's ruining her rapists' lives. Because it's her fault. Because she was asking for it. And the more you get to know her, the more you get angry at her, the more your heart breaks, because it doesn't matter if Emma is not a good person, and it doesn't matter if she was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when she was raped. All these things don't matter, because there is only one thing that should be important in the eyes of the law: that she was raped. That her rights were violated, and that the perpetrators need to be severely punished. But the law is slow. It takes years to go to trial, to collect all evidence, and Emma grows emptier every day. Until she eventually gives up.
Asking For It is not a pretty book. It's raw and painful and makes you so angry that you can't stop thinking about it for days, weeks, months - because it's not fair, because no one should ever blame the victim, but when the victim's a woman, when she's a slut, everyone suddenly finds it really hard to believe her. I'm writing this review with a lump in my throat. I'm writing it for every girl who constantly keeps her eyes on her drink when she goes out at night, who doesn't wear that dress that looks so good on her because she's scared she might send out the wrong signals, as if what we do, how we dress gives men any right to violate our rights. Because we know. We know that even if it's not fair, the world is still based on the idea that when a woman is raped, only half the fault is her rapist's, and what were you wearing what were you drinking did you take any drugs you were asking for it, really.
This book was so badly written??? I really don't see the hype at all. I was excited to read this as it addresses rape culture and apparently has HIGH reviews here on goodreads but I was let down tremendously.
First of all, there were too many characters to keep track of. It suddenly jumps from one character to another which was really confusing. There also wasn't any introduction of the characters' appearances/characteristics. None of the characters were likable. All were annoying and makes me want to punch them all in the face especially the protagonist. Okay maybe except Bryan (protagonist's brother). The parents were obnoxious. The friends were frustratingly dim-witted and shallow. The protagonist.... is clearly IN LOVE WITH HERSELF.
The book dragged on and on. There was barely any development at all. The first 1/3 of the book was just mainly Emma thinking she's better than everyone else and everyone else sucking up to her. She's clearly the queen bee. When the "rape scene" arrived, it wasn't even properly put forth that it was happening. Only afterwards when it's all over the social media etc. Even then it was rather vague and underplayed in a sense. There was a few instances when suicide was brought up but it was just glossed over and mentioned casually in a couple of sentences like it was NO BIG DEAL. HELLO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SUICIDE HERE. And apparently, Emma's parents don't give two hoots as well. All they cared about was their appearance and image in the neighborhood.
There was no proper ending to it. Was there a trial at the end?? Did the accused got what they deserved?? Did Emma recover from the incident? Did her parents do something about it? WHERE THE FUCK DID BRYAN GO the only redeemable character in the book just fucking gone back to fucking college and disappear and never made another appearance.
Wtf the fuck. Seriously someone please explain this to me cos I don't get it.
A popular high-school student named Emma is used to getting attention and usually thrives on it. Until she is sexually assaulted. I don't want to give too much away, but the main topics of this book include sexual assault, consent, reprecussions, social issues, depression, etc.
This book is not to be taken lightly, it deals with some very serious topics and delivers a very important message.
Louise O'Neill 's writing is raw and exposed. There is no beautifying the circumstances, actions and beliefs of the characters. This is very important for this book. I was in awe. I loved the writing, the framework, the dialogue, the diction and the pace. Every word she wrote served a purpose, an underlying message if you dared to seek it. I give this book 5/5 stars because it touched me, the writing was superb, the story and message were excellent and I was overwhelmed by the truth and vulnerability of the characters. Also of course the astonishing writing.
Those who have suffered through a sexual assault, know you aren't alone, there ARE people that believe you and support you. We WANT/NEED you to get better. No, you will most likely never be the same person you were before, but you are still you. Any of you can always message me if you need someone to talk to, about anything! It is extremely important that you have a good support system, most don't though. This is a huge issue, but I WILL BE YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM if you ever need one. I never want any of you to go through anything bad but it happens, and when/if it happens or already has, feel welcome and supported to message me.
This book is so, so cruel. Yet so completely realistic, I almost wish it was a lie.
The story is about Emma O'Donovan. In any other YA novel, she would be the Queen Bee, the Mean Girl, the ultimate Bitch everyone loves to hate and hates to love. As the book is from her point of view, we get to read her thoughts and feelings unedited, however shallow and narcisstic they may be. She is constantly making sure that boys notice her, and if they don't, she wonders why. She is jealous of her friends, hates people who don't make an effort with their looks, and seeks to be the centre of attention all. the. time.
In summary, she is a despicable human being. And I can completely identify with her. (Well, to a certain degree). Because if you ever were a teenage girl growing up with other teenage girls, you will have had some, maybe all, of the emotions Emma O'Donovan has had. I've been jealous of my friends. I have wanted to be prettier than other girls. And I have made fun of girls who were different.
The only difference: Emma O'Donovan is an extreme case. But the thing is, I have met girls like Emma O'Donovan. They exist. And therefore, what happens to Emma O'Donovan, exists in real life too.
Gang raped at a party, Emma is left to deal with the consequences. And the consequences are terrible.
There is a reason why this book is called Asking For It. Because even though it is Emma's story, and we only ever get Emma's point of view, we learn about the community's reaction. And everyone thinks she was Asking For It. She dressed up like a slut. She took drugs. She got too drunk. Therefore, she was Asking For It.
And this book couldn't have come at a better time. At a time where Rape and Consent are up for discussion. Where colleges in America are reviewing their policies on rape and laws are being edited to give a broader definition of rape. So when a book like this hits the shelves, you can't help but wonder why something this despicable can still happen.
Because no one felt sorry for the victim because she dressed like a slut and acted a certain way. It is innocent until proven guilty, right? So why does that only apply to the alleged rapists and not the victim?
And the hardest part about reading this book was finding myself thinking that she was Asking For It. Thinking, what did you expect? But then I realised that the victim is not important. The victim's past and present, however inebriated or high or whatever she was, has nothing to do with the case. Boys took advantage without consent, and that should be that. If only it were that simple.
And the ending is completely spot on. No happy ending. No sad ending really, either. There is no conclusion. Things are not wrapped up. Because this part of Emma's life will not end. There won't be a happy ending. She will have to deal with this trauma for the rest of her life.
So yeh, this book made me think a lot. Not only about our rape culture, society and our laws. But about me and how I would react if this happened to someone I know. And I hope I won't be part of the problem.
Asking For It is the second very political choice by Printz Committee this year. Is this the best ya novel about rape culture? Is it better than, let's say You Against Me or All the Rage that came out a couple of years ago? Is it better than other books about rape culture and victim blaming that were published this year? I can't really tell because I don't quite have the stomach to sample and compare any more of these stories. But one thing is certain - Louise O'Neill has power and rage in her writing. This novel made me feel sad and angry and also kind of hopeless and ashamed for people.
Only 1-2% of reported rape cases in Ireland result in a conviction!
I knew going in that this would not be a pleasant read. I knew it would upset me, disgust me, make me angry and make me feel inconsolably sad. But I also knew that if someone was brave enough to write it, I could be brave enough to read it. This is an important topic and the entire world needs to have serious discussion about consent, rape, rape-culture, respect, compassion and survival. I think everyone should read this book. It’s flawed, full of horrible things, unlikable and hateful people, but no one can afford to avert their eyes from the fact that what happens to Emma on the page happens in real life to too many people – because we have looked the other way for too long.
Anyone who reads the back of this book knows what this is about, so I won���t summarize it. My review is also littered with spoilers, so at your own risks…
There’s no graphic descriptions of what happens to Emma in this book, but that doesn’t make reading about it any less of a punch in the heart. Many reviewers have commented on the clever choice Louise O’Neill made, to have her main character be a mean girl who sleeps around, parties hard, manipulates and lies to her friends - and I agree with them. Everyone screams in outrage when a well-behaved, blameless girl is assaulted; but we all know that the assailant’s lawyers will try to turn even the most irreproachable girl into a harlot, to take some blame off their client and push it back onto the victim. To make it seem like their clients were simply acting upon an invitation, a coaxing, an irresistible temptation that a woman was dangling in front of their nose. Showing a rape victim who is a selfish, cruel, sexually active girl who wears skimpy outfits to parties is O’Neill’s brave statement: even girls like that are not asking for it. No one is asking for it. And yet the world still tells women to not get raped instead of telling men not to rape…
Women are still raised with the insidious idea that they are only worth something if someone desires them. It’s awful, but it’s true and I have heard some of the most mindboggling statements from people of all walks of life, who all seem united by this idea that if you are not attractive, no one will be interested in you. Girls like Emma integrate this message too literally, and will stop at nothing to be wanted. Sometimes that means dressing in skimpy clothes, sometimes that means playing the party girl who drinks and takes drugs, sometimes that means letting boys do thing that you don’t really want… Emma is actually so oblivious to the concept of consent that she doesn’t immediately realize she has been raped: after all she didn’t say “no”… but neither did she say “yes”.
Even if you don’t like Emma (and I sure as hell didn’t – I was bullied by girls exactly like her for a decade), reading about what happens to her, how her friends turn their backs on her, how the town takes the aggressors’ side is nothing short of devastating. I cried bitter, ragey tears to see how even her parents don’t really know what to believe: they want things to go back to normal, they want their daughter the way she used to be. I was reading and all I could think was: “These people don’t love their daughter, they love the idea of their daughter, the symbol of their daughter, what she represented. And now that she is broken they don’t want her…”. I lent the book to a very good friend of mine who has two daughters of her own, and she was even more outraged than I was by the O’Donovan’s behaviours.
The story of Brock Turner has been all over the news for the past couple of weeks, and I couldn’t help but think of this book as I read article after article about his reduced sentence. This is exactly what happens to the three boys who rape Emma: they are the local football heroes, and the town rallies around them despite overwhelming evidence of their hateful acts. “Being a rapist is not as bad as being a slut” they seem to say. “These boys are better than you and more worthy of our support” is what Emma understands every time she sees people acting like she deserved what happened to her. Victim-blaming and victim-shaming is almost as damaging as the assault itself, and O’Neill does a fantastic job of showing how Emma’s rape is something that keeps on happening to her. She has no memory of the actual event because she was passed out, but every day brings a reminder that re-opens the wounds and make it impossible for her to heal.
The end is frustrating, mostly because I am sure a lot of victims make the same choice Emma makes, and my heart breaks for them. I cannot blame them from giving up and backing down when they realize the fight is almost impossible to win. And stories like the Brock Turner case will probably discourage more women from reporting their own sexual assaults, because now we have a blatant example of how even when someone is recognized guilty, justice can still be horribly cheated by the very people who should dole out a fair sentence. It’s a cruel ending to a brutally realistic book, and I wanted to punch the wall when I turned the last page.
This book will make you think about consent, personal responsibility and gender equality. This book will make you angry and it might make you feel hopeless. I gave it five stars even if I didn’t enjoy the read in the way I usually enjoy books, but this is a very, very important read. I for one am very glad that a YA novel has been written about these issues because young girls and boys need to be aware and better educated about sex, consent and respect, and I hope that it will spark more conversations about rape-culture, slut-shaming and victim-blaming. Please read this book.
Sicuramente uno dei migliori Young adult che abbia mai letto. In un periodo in cui escono tonnellate di titoli mediocri, Louise O'Neill è un'autrice che, nel genere, va tenuta assolutamente d'occhio. Con una prosa semplicissima è in grado di colpire violentemente allo stomaco del lettore. Il tema è quello del consenso, attualissimo, e, soprattutto, del revenge porn. Non aspettatevi una costruzione classica della storia. La vittoria del romanzo sta nella costruzione del personaggio di Emma, attraverso il quale l'autrice riesce a porre una satira feroce nei confronti del ruolo femminile all'interno di un mondo maschilista. Che cosa sarebbe successo se Emma avesse subito una violenza camminando da sola di notte e indifesa? Che cosa succede, invece, quando quella stessa violenza succede ad una ragazza a cui piace divertirsi, consapevole della sua bellezza e che tende ad alzare un po' il gomito? "Te la sei cercata" ragiona su questa ambiguità, ferendo il lettore e contribuendo a dare uno svolgimento estremamente realistico alla vicenda e, allo stesso tempo devastante. Emma non è un'eroina. Non combatte. Emma è una persona vera. E il romanzo è l'entrata a capofitto nella sua psicologia e, attraverso i suoi occhi, vediamo il mondo intero crollarle addosso. Uno dei libri più tristi letti quest'anno. E, sicuramente, uno dei libri per ragazzi più cupi che abbia mai letto.
“My body is not my own any more. They have stamped their names all over it.” ― Louise O'Neill, Asking For It
This is a book that makes you feel. Any reader of realistic fiction Should not miss this one.
Of all the many books that I have read about rape culture this maybe the most bleak. Emma is a young woman who finds herself passed out on her own front doorstep.
When she awakens she is unable to recall The circumstances that led to this. As details come out about what happened to her, Emma finds herself adrift , traumatized and Unable to receive the help she needs from friends family or the legal system.
This was an exhausting read not an easy one. It is however A deeply moving novel and there was not one false note anywhere..hence the five stars.
This book contains graphic language and scenes and may be triggering to some people. If you do choose to read this, expect to feel a variety of emotions from empathy to sadness to deep outrage. The writing is superb And the subject matter is tough to tackle. The writer should be commended for writing a book that definitely differentiates itself from the pack and definitely marches to the beat of its own drum.
With recent books like What We Saw and Wrecked, Asking For It is a pertinent entry into society's must need discussion on the subject of sexual consent. This particular plot line takes place in contemporary Ireland and is from the viewpoint of rape victim, Emma/Emmie O'Donovan.
Let me be straight forward in saying that it is quite possible that readers are not going to like Emma. Emma is not the virginial shy girl in the corner that Hollywood likes to use as their cookie cutter image of a rape victim. Instead,Emma is similar to Rachel MacAdams in Mean Girls or Blair in the Gossip Girl series. Essentially Emma O'Donovan is an 18 year-old girl that is the Queen B. Her peers, both female and male, are often the victims of her criticism or placated by her praise. Kudos to author Louise O'Neill for taking her book in this direction because it adds another layer to the discussion.
See, Emma is aware of her physical good looks, the life of the party, she seeks to make her climb on the social ladder even higher. Until one night, when things turn ugly and Emma is sexually assaulted by several boys at a party. Soon Emma finds herself ostracized by all her peers and by her community. And there are devastating photos of the event. The story then follows Emma and her family through the first year since the sexual assault.
As a woman and a high school teacher, it never fails to raise my ire that so much emphasis in sexual assault cases is placed on the way the victim behaves or is perceived to behave in public. Words like"slut", "whore", "cunt", and "cocktease" find themselves creeping into our vernacular and often the court of public opinion tends to sway towards the "poor" "good" boy(s) that stand accused of the crime.
I cannot stress enough that this book opens up the type of discussion we desperately NEED to start having with both men and women in our society. O'Neill brings forward so much emotional punch especially when illustrating the reactions of Emma's older brother and parents. The ambiguous ending although heartbreaking truly defines the pain that survivors of sexual assault endure in the justice system.
Perhaps one of the most poignantly told stories of the last decade!
I've been meaning to read this one for ages and I'm so glad I got around to it.I literally couldn't put it down and I had it finished in less than a day.Asking For It is a devastating novel which explores one of the most relevant but ignored aspects of our society today, rape culture.Eighteen year old, Emma O'Donovan suddenly becomes a victim of this when she awakens the day after a party to discover revealing photographs of her from the night before, posted online.She can't remember what happened the night before but the photographs are clear evidence of the heinous acts performed on her.However,no one wants to believe her especially when it involves the town's heroes.
The story was set in Ireland which was a nice change and made me enjoy it more,being Irish myself but especially due to how Louise O'Neill brilliantly captured Irish culture.
The main character Emma was not what I expected as she's a horrible person.She's a terrible friend,incredibly judgemental and can be cruel.The fact she is an unlikeable character and promiscuous adds even more complexity to the story as people presume she wanted to have sex with those men.Emma's reputation is an important example of the prejudice, people can have when evidence is laid out right in front of them and the culture of slut shaming.Nearly everyone presumes she wanted it because of her past relations despite the incriminating pictures before them.
The story was definitely bleak but this was necessary to capture the reality of rape culture and the serious impact it can have on the victim.The book deals with so many important themes that are neglected by our society despite their commonness,like slut shaming which runs throughout the book.Also, it looks at people's refusal to accept terrible acts committed by people they value so much.
I really liked how Louise O'Neill showed how even the own victim's family can question their accusation and the growing impact it can have.Also, I thought Louise O'Neill did an amazing job at exploring how all the blame Emma experienced was leading her into a decaying stage where the blame was slowly tearing her apart.
This novel really is a fantastic one which made me further consider our ability to blame rape victims and protect those people who we hold in such a high light.I definitely found it heartbreaking and frustrating, especially the end but nevertheless I really enjoyed this one and would 100% recommend it to everyone who feels they can face this book.
'Asking For It' is being regarded as one of the best novels to emerge in Ireland in recent years, and I really have to disagree with the praise that it is receiving from critics and the general public. I think that the book's message is responsible for its success, and not its writing. While the novel has an important message, the fundamental purpose of fiction is not to create social and political messages.
The narrative of the book is not overly deep or thought-provoking. Given that it is a first person narrative from the protagonist of Emma, I think that it should be more uncensored and confessional. In addition, I don't think that it really captures Emma's despair after the attack very well. If you compare the tone of the book from before the incident, to after, there really isn't that much of a difference in Emma's thinking or mental state, other than she sometimes gets flashbulb memories of the aftermath of the assault, which causes momentary anxiety.
The characters are not very convincing. I think that they are more of a stereotype of Ireland's youth. The dialogue between the characters is weak; it reads like the script for a soap drama, instead of reading in a way where the characters are actually communicating or expressing themselves. O'Neill just shoved in buzzwords like 'instagram' or 'pre-drinks' in certain places as a failed attempt to bring these teenage characters to life.
I think that there are some problems with logic in the novel too. Certain scenes and characters are hard to take seriously. For example, one of Emma's friends lives in a mega mansion with a mother who is one day being photographed for a fashion magazine in her own home. I think that is a very unlikely thing to come across in a humble town in county Cork. Also, the character of Conor who is akin to a knight in shining armor for Emma, stands uninvited outside Emma's house one day, staring up at her bedroom window, as if the story were a cheesy rom-com?
Lastly, the plot lacked development. After the incident of rape, it is really just an account of how Emma no longer goes to school, and how she has become a social pariah. This account of Emma's loss in popularity, and having nothing worthwhile to do during the day, continues for one hundred and fifty pages or so, only for the novel to come to an ending where Emma decides not to press charges against the men who sexually assaulted her.
* Tackles a very sensitive but important topic - sexual assault and its aftermath * It’s very eye-opening, very difficult to read and it leaves you with a nauseous feeling, because it’s very rooted in reality * Unlikable protagonist, but I really like that the author chose to write the main character this way, to make the point that no matter what kind of people they are, victims are still victims * I loved the writing - raw, unapologetic, intense * Ambiguous ending, because there’s no clear black or white when it comes to issues like these
* I would have liked the chapters to be more clearly defined, the writing switched from one place to another or from one time to another without any clear indication, which was a little confusing for me * It took me a while to get into it, because it’s very difficult to get invested in unlikable characters (virtually everyone in this book, with the exception of Emma’s - the protagonist - brother)
Special mentions : graphic sexual assault, suicide attempt, substance use
YAY or NAY : yay - this is an important, intense and powerful book
Favourite quotes :
“My body is not my own any more. They have stamped their names all over it.” “They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.”
To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)
I also read this book for my Young Women's Hometown Book Club (it worked out nicely).
I enjoyed the read but at times it dragged on. I felt like I was enjoying it more than normal because the discussions that were taking place with the book were very good and captivating, but the book itself had a lot of dull moments. I really struggled with the beginning of the book and trying to figure out what is going on. It was very confusing and there were so many characters. The ending was also a big let down.
All, in all, this book lead to some great discussions, but it was definitely not one of my favorite books.
Translation widget on The blog!! O carte cutremurătoare. O lecție de viața crunta și nemiloasă. O poveste despre consecințele băuturilor alcoolice și a consumului de stupefiante. O carte despre consecințele dramatice ale propriilor acțiuni ce pot avea consecințe extrem de grave. O carte cu o temă relativ tabu, despre care nimeni nu prea vorbește. Recenzia mea completă o găsiți aici: https://www.delicateseliterare.ro/si-...
THUG was another piece of realistic fiction I recently read that dealt with real issues. It was also easier for me to rate, because the bifurcation there was clear. I knew whom I was rooting for. Well, technically, the bifurcation was clear here too, and of course I was rooting for the prosecutrix. The girl who was raped. But Emma, the victim here, is not a nice person. She is a petty, jealous, selfish, horrible person who also steals just because. I don't care about any of this. What I do care about, is that she trivialises her friend's rape and even joins in on laughing at it ...with the rapist. That is why I hate Emma O'Donovan. But that doesn't matter, because rape is rape and rape is wrong. No one deserves to be raped. No one is asking to be raped. A smile, a show of cleavage, a hint of black lacy bra - nothing is an invitation.
I don't know what O'Neill's intention here was, in making the main character so unlikable. Actually, I think I do. O'Neill wants to push her readers to say she deserved it. But that doesn't matter, because rape is rape and rape is wrong. No one deserves to be raped. No one is asking to be raped. Being a bitch, being a skank, being a slut, being a whore - nothing is an invitation.
Here, even in this review, I, started off by talking about Emma. What I should have started off with are the rapists. Paul O'Brien, Dylan Walsh, Sean Casey and Ethan Fitzgerald. Because in reality, they are the ones that need to be shamed. They raped her and filmed it. They put it up on social media and ruined her life, her friendships, her reputation, everything. She doesn't think she deserves to be loved anymore. Or that she deserves anything anymore. She thinks she was asking for it. She thinks she's in the wrong. She was drugged. But that doesn't matter, because rape is rape and rape is wrong. No one deserves to be raped. No one is asking to be raped. Having too much to drink, taking drugs, being sexually active - nothing is an invitation.
This book is so, so important not just in the light of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, but in general, because when we say rape, the first reaction from many people is always that she was asking for it. Or that she should've screamed louder. Or not had so much to drink. The world polices the victim again and again and again. Questions her repeatedly. Questions her story. Everyone is so caught up in believing that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, that they don't give second thoughts to accusing the victim of lying. Or of asking for it. We need to stop. Because the message of Asking For It is clear and simple and resounding. Believe women, goddamnit! Don't trivialise their trauma. Rape is painful as it is. Don't make it worse for the victims by telling they're lying. The key takeaway from Asking For It is that no one is asking for it.
Here's the thing. Ultimately, Emma O'Donovan wasn't raped because she was beautiful. She wasn't raped because she was a bitch. She wasn't raped because she was a "slut". She wasn't raped because she was a people-pleaser. Emma O'Donovan was raped for one and only one reason. Because four men decided it would be fun. That she wanted it. Emma O'Donovan was raped because Paul O'Brien, Dylan Walsh, Sean Casey and Ethan Fitzgerald (?) decided to rape her. They were the only people at fault, the only entities responsible. That should be the only message we need to take from this. Emma wasn't asking for it. No one is asking for it. Not now, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. No one is asking to be raped. Nothing is an invitation to rape. Nothing.
I read this book in one sitting. It’s a book that you endure rather than flip through casually. O’Neill’s writing is like a gut punch with a kick to throat for good measure. It follows Emma, a beautiful eighteen year old from a small Irish town. Emma and her circle of friends are a “Mean Girls” kind of clique. They are obsessed with their appearance, are cruel to other people and even to each other. This all changes after Emma is raped at a party by multiple boys. The incident is recorded and plastered all over social media and a firestorm ensues. Not only is Emma’s side of the story largely ignored, she finds herself the centre of a modern day public shaming ritual. She is blamed for ruining the lives of the “good natured” boys. She can’t even find solace within her own family. This novel exposes the sickening way rape victims are treated in the UK and the U.S. O’Neill expertly draws the reader into Emma’s psychological decline after it becomes clear to her that everyone around her thinks it’s her fault that she was raped. It’s an important book that covers a topic that needs to be discussed with and by teenagers of both sexes.
Asking For It is a difficult book. As if the subject matter isn't disturbing and harrowing enough - an 18-year-old girl is raped and then ostracized from her community because of it - Louise O'Neill's approach to this story is ruthlessly, unnervingly honest. Emma O'Donovan's story isn't one of healing and closure and happy endings, and it can be hard to read because of that, but it shows an important side to this story that we don't often see depicted in fiction.
The most striking thing about Asking For It is how unlikable our heroine Emma is. The first quarter of the book is devoted to her treating her friends rather poorly and treating prospective partners like trophies; she's stuck-up, vain, and self-centered. She wears short skirts and low-cut dresses, she drinks a lot of alcohol and takes drugs recreationally, and when she's raped by four boys, the question in absolutely everyone's mind - from her classmates to her parents to strangers who pass her on the street - is 'wasn't she asking for it?' Louise O'Neill challenges this absolutely vile conception of what a 'good victim' should look like: someone who's a virgin, who dresses modestly, whose trauma responses fit perfectly into the DSM-5. People like Emma (though she's fictional, she's all too real) don't fit into this mold and their allegations of rape are often met with disdain, which is why it's all the more critical that we support them.
Obviously, a book tackling an important and difficult subject matter doesn't in and of itself make it a good book, so I'm glad to say that I was blown away by Asking For It on just about every level. O'Neill's writing is stunning (I did such a double take when I flipped to the back cover and saw how young she is - not that young people can't be good writers, obviously! but this book is nearly flawless on a technical level). Her characters are three-dimensional - Emma isn't an archetype straight out of Mean Girls; she's pretty and popular and vain, but it's all rooted in a deep sense of insecurity that's tied heavily into her upbringing, which O'Neill deftly explores in the way Emma relates to her family. I also liked that I didn't at any point feel like I was being preached to, which is something I occasionally feel while reading YA as an adult. O'Neill explores these issues with subtlety and doesn't shy away from asking difficult questions of her readers. My one minor critique is that the rate at which secondary characters are introduced at the beginning of the novel is a little excessive - the first thirty or so pages were me going 'wait, who is that?' - but once over this hurdle, the book settles into a gripping pace.
This book isn't going to be for everyone, and I'd certainly advise that you proceed with caution if you're triggered by this subject matter or if you struggle with anxiety (my heart was racing pretty much the entire time I was reading). But it is such a critically important contribution to the discussion of rape culture. O'Neill fearlessly advocates justice for all rape victims, not just the ones whose stories are easier to digest, that fit better into our conceived narrative of what 'counts' as rape. We need to stop blaming rape victims and start listening to their stories, full stop.
Emma Donovan is the prettiest girl in their school, heck she's the prettiest in their entire town and boy, does she know it because she uses it to its fullest advantage. Yep, she's a certified mean girl, a bitch, a slut, however you want to call it and she's proud of it. She's full of herself and always makes sure to get what and who she wants. It doesn't matter if her friends get hurt in the process. She doesn't seem to have an ounce of respect to her mom, to her friends, and even to herself so when the worst happens to her, she definitely deserves it, right? Because she was Asking For It?
WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
This is exactly the purpose of the author in writing a story in the POV of a girl, a young woman who has questionable character, an awful human being really and yet still deserves empathy because no one EVER is asking for it, not even when she willingly went inside a room with a guy/guys, not even when she purposely seduced him, not when during the act, she decided she didn't want it really.
Five years ago, I probably would have belonged to those who would judge her, to those who would blame her, thinking exactly as the title suggests and I'm thankful for the education reading books like this gives me. I completely agree with the author in her afterword that we need more books like this, to keep talking about rape culture and victim blaming so more and more people could become educated and hopefully reduce rape cases, sexual assaults, and general violence against women all over the world.
I read Asking For It a few weeks ago but forgot to type up my review on Goodreads for it, oops! I met Louise a few days ago at a book event and she was ever so nice and down to earth. If she's at an event close to you, go and see her!
The subject topics contained in this novel are deep, it tackles the negativity of social media, rape and life changes in an instant. Emma is an eighteen year old girl who has everything she could ever want and when a party comes up, she goes along. But in the following morning, she wakes up on the front porch having no clue how or why she's there. The things that follow are harrowing and shocking as everything that Emma once thought she knew and trusted changes forever.
Seriously, if there's a book that you should read this year. It's this one. I can't even began to tell you all how the writing hit me. I was left contemplating with my pet cat afterwards. I know that's random but also what I found that was seriously refreshing is that I haven't read many novels that are set in Ireland so it was a nice change in setting and scene. The topics are deep but Louise really did her research and as a writer, doing research is so important.
I haven't actually written any reviews because, to be completely honest, I'm lazy and also, despite the amount and diversity of books I've read throughout my life (and considering how early I started and the type of books I read as a child and teen already), I wouldn't ever dare criticize an author seeing as I don't write books myself. If I enjoy a book, I enjoy it. If I finished it it's because I felt compelled to keep reading and never lost interest so why rate a book any less than 5 stars? Of course there's some I love more than others, not necessarily for their style or the story but simply because they are intriguing psychologically or help me learn more about things I am interested in (history, psychology etc). This book is one of those. I bought it spontaneously when I spotted it at the bookstore. I personally have a wide range of interests with psychology, sexuality and sociology being my major ones. Needless to say I get passionate about the topic this book is about. Stories like Emma's infuriate and sadden me. I recognized myself in the first half of the book. Things she did and thought; her actions and logic, the way she handled situations. I still felt for her after what had happened though I can't fully relate (thankfully). I felt sympathy and empathy for her. Her thoughts after that night are heartbreaking. This is one of the books that has really touched me. Even if this book was badly written, I feel it is a book everyone should read. Not just girls, women, daughters, mothers, but even more so their male counterparts. Stories like this are important because they are real. They happen in real life; they aren't fiction.
Asking For It is probably one of the first books I have ever read that deals with rape culture and victim blaming, that is a fictional book at least. And god is it an important topic, one that isn't discussed nearly enough.
Emma O'Donovan is beautiful and popular, and has a lot of clout and control over her life in her tiny Irish town. Everyone knows her and everyone loves her, at least until one summer night where her life changes. She can't remember what happened, but she can see the pictures that have blown up on Snapchat and Facebook.
What I found fascinating about this book was that Louise O'Neill doesn't make Emma O'Donovan a likeable character at the beginning of this book by any stretch of the imagination. I found her to be frankly a terrible person. She constantly underhandedly criticises the girls who are meant to be her friends, she flirts with boyfriends and boys she knows her friends fancy, and her own comments on other girls and particularly experiences of sexual assault are frankly sexist and awful. She is part of the problem, until suddenly she finds herself on the opposite scale and feels the true brunt of these attitudes towards her.
However, it is vital to remember that this is not a tale of comeuppance, of a girl that gets what she deserves. Because this should not happen to anyone, and it was really interesting to see Emma's realisation of how situations like this should and shouldn't be dealt with. However, it is also heart-breaking to see Emma's descent into depression and hopelessness, as she battles not only with the opinions and actions of her friends and family, but her own tormented thoughts.
This is a grim book to read, there is no doubt about it. And if you're looking for a resolution, you're not going to get it, which from what I understand of O'Neill's writing is fairly typical in her novels. It is unflinching and starkly realistic, and is an accomplished and genuinely important book for this exact reason. However, does it make for entertaining/enjoyable reading? No, it doesn't. And for that reason I couldn't really say that I really liked it. The second half of the book can get quite repetitive due to Emma's current situation, and for that reason it feels like you can't escape this horrible, fug of darkness.
I wouldn't say this is an incredibly well written book - but not badly written either - but it doesn't really matter as you're there for the story, not the writing. And O'Neill does a fabulous job, as far as I can tell, of truly capturing the style of dialogue of young Irish teens, and any mention of social media, etc. never feels overwrought or embarrassing, just natural. I think she did a fantastic job of portraying the key party scene as well, and I felt like this was a very realistic expression of what would happen in this situation. I just don't think I could ever read it again.
Well worth a read, as it's an important topic that is still causing sexual assault and rape survivors major heartache. It needs to be addressed, and this book will hopefully act as a stepping stone on the way to that.