I’m so late writing this review, I’ve seen like a million and one people publishing their reviews of this before me. I bought the book on the day of its release but because of university and all that I’ve been incredibly busy between when I finished reading it and now so I’ve only just had a chance to sit down and write my thoughts and opinions on this book! It also took me quite a while to write the review due to the storyline.
So, I wrote a positive review about ‘Only Ever Yours’ by Louise and as most of my readers should know by now I would consider her one of my favourite authors so I picked up a copy of ‘Asking For It’ the day it came out. People had already been talking about it long before then, about how brutal it was but how it was still an amazing read.
This story is told from the point of view of Emma O’Donovan who is eighteen and lives in a small town in Ireland. She’s beautiful, happy and confident. One night she goes to a party with her friends and the next morning she wakes up on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened but everyone else does and there are photos posted on the internet that show in explicit detail what happened to Emma that night. But even when faced with the evidence, people still won’t necessarily believe that what happened to Emma wasn’t her fault.
I don’t know what it is about O’Neill’s books but I often find it hard to keep up with which characters which. It shouldn’t be too difficult as Emma has her three best friends but I even managed to mix the three of them up. The boys were way more difficult. My friend had the character problem with ‘Only Ever Yours’ but she told me she hadn’t had any problems with this one so I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
However, what I do love about O’Neill’s books is the way she writes with such brutal honesty and she doesn’t try and sugar-coat anything for her readers. That’s what I loved so much about ‘Only Ever Yours’, the ending hit me like a ton of bricks and that’s also true for ‘Asking for It’. The book takes a certain path and you think ‘well okay, it can still be okay-’ and then BAM out of nowhere it’s taken the exact direction you didn’t want it to. And I respect that so much, so many authors seem to think ‘well the audience would like it to go that way so I’ll take it that way’ – No! I want it to go somewhere unexpected and I want to cry and I want to remember this book forever.
Emma is the kind of girl that everyone’s met before and probably hated. She’s the popular girl from Secondary School that you hated, were slightly scared of and maybe privately hoped for her downfall. So it’s no surprise that when Emma’s downfall begins a lot of the girls at school can’t help but enjoy it just a little bit. At the start it was extremely difficult to genuinely like Emma, especially if you were someone that the popular girls in school were prone to bullying (ahaha, I loved school) but as the book continued and you saw what she was going through you started to see a different girl completely. And you knew that neither of those girls deserved what they went through.
This book is brutal but it’s also so important. When we’re taught about rape we’re taught about a stranger dragging a girl down an alleyway and scaring her/threatening her into doing something she didn’t want to do. But it’s not always like that and that’s what we need to understand. We need to talk about rape culture and I’m glad that O’Neill wrote this the way that she did, the brutal, realistic way that forces us to realise that rape isn’t always a stranger, it isn’t always screaming and shouting and fighting someone off, it can be so different to that.
I would recommend this book to everyone, it’s a book that needs to be read and acknowledged. You should be able to find it in your local Waterstones but if not, the internet exists, use it! Go and buy a copy and get reading!