Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
Published September 3rd 2015 by Quercus UK
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
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’m gonna say it right now before you read any further,
Trigger Warning: Rape
The book is told in Emma’s point of view. It starts out introducing her friends, her family, painting a picture of the kind of people she hangs out with. It was hard to get into at first, as so many characters were introduced at once. It was hard to keep up who was who. But once the story progressed, it becomes easier to follow along.
This book was good. I liked the writing style, i liked the narration, I liked how it exposed the harsh realities of such a sensitive topic. It tackles mainly on rape culture, victim shaming, bullying, and overall ignorance. It makes me remember of recent rape cases which make my blood boil because the media chooses to paint a picture of sympathy for the “remorseful rapist”, calling out on his other achievements instead, the Stanford Rape Case for example.
I hate how society chooses to put the blame on the victims. She was dressed too slutty, she was drunk and not careful, she was asking for it. This is so rampant in my country especially, as people’s level of respect for a woman is based on how much of her skin. she did and did not reveal. People don’t tell the guy, shame on you for raping someone. Instead, people tell the girl, shame on you for drinking, for dressing inappropriately, for not watching your drink.
The protagonist, Emma O’Donovan, is a bitch. That was my first impression of her. She likes to always be in control, to always be the center of attention But all this, does not mean that she deserved what happened to her. No one deserves to be raped. I hate what they did to her. I teared up at some point when the pictures taken were being described in the book.
One major factor tackled in the book was consent. What really defines it as consensual sex? What if they were intoxicated? What if she was dressed suggestively?
The book shows as well the aftermath of being raped. Not only on how she views herself, how her train of thought has changed, but also what society sees her as. It shows how it has affected her family internally and externally.
Needless to say, this is a very important book. It’s an eye opener, as well as a challenge. Will you think she deserved what happened to her? Will you sympathize with her? Will you blame her? Will you say she was asking for it?