Review – Asking for it by Louise O’Neill

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August 26, 2018 by ceresbooksworld


Asking for it by Louise O’Neill


Publisher  : Quercus UK

Publication date: September 3rd, 2015

Source: Paperback

Rating: 5 hearts




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…


This book is not a beautiful story but it’s important in today’s society to change consciences. This book is about rape, the consequences of our actions whether as spectators, actors or victims. This book is certainly not a fiction because women will surely recognize themselves in this story.

Emma is not a character I liked at the beginning of the story, she is selfish, she treats her friends like shit. She’s not the kind of person I can identify with, but that’s no reason to ignore what happened to her. She is considered an easy girl because the only thing important to her is to be the most beautiful. This opinion comes from her mother who always wants her to be perfect.

During a party Emma is raped, she doesn’t remember anything but photos were posted and a facebook account was opened. You think that’s horrible? Me too but unfortunately it happens many days. At no time do rapists imagine that what they are doing is wrong, even when posting photos. At no time the people who comment under the photos, say to themselves that what they write is awful and that telling a person who has been raped to go and commit suicide isn’t correct, it is even despicable. Very few people defend her, her reputation has collapsed, her parents are ashamed of their daughter and their reaction is just as abject as that of strangers. Being parents means supporting your child, no matter the difficulties and unfortunately this is not the case here. The only person in her family who really supports her is her brother Bryan.

The story is approached with accuracy, it doesn’t end as one would like it but as the author says, sexual assaults that go from touching to rape are so common nowadays that we see this as an inevitable thing for all women. I am not saying that I completely agree, but we still live with this sword of Damocles over our heads. We raise our children by talking about the possibilities and telling them to be careful, whether it’s the way they talk or the way they dress. In a perfect world women would be allowed to dress as they want and men would not think with their dicks first. But we are not in a perfect world and to make things evolve I think this story is necessary.

Louise O’Neill tells us how Emma feels, whether it is in front of the shame of her parents, in front of the comments of the people seeing the photos (these people are as much men as women and it revolts me). The accuracy of her words is brutal and electrifying.

So yes I would have liked Emma to fight to the end but I also understand her position, especially when even your parents don’t support you.

Quick word: A book to make everyone read, teenagers, parents. An incredibly essential story about the culture of rape.

About the author

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.



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