Title: Asking For It
Author: Louise O'Neill
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A, standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Oh, Louise O'Neill. You've done it again. Just like with your first novel, Only Ever Yours, I feel as if my internal organs have been rearranged, my heart and entrails scattered into a million different, scattered pieces. I loved this book, because it was more than fiction--it is a powerful and unflinching treatise on sexism, rape culture, and victim-blaming in today's modern society. It made me cry, it made me rage, it made me think--and isn't that the purpose of fiction, after all? To hold up a mirror towards the world and weave a story, all the while telling the truth about it? I am absolutely blown away, bowled over by O'Neill's gift to write stories that glimmer with truth, just below the surface. I'm just amazed.
Asking For It revolves around eighteen-year-old Emma 'Emmie' O'Donovan, a beautiful young woman who seems to have the entire world worshipping at her feet. When she goes to a party and is sexually assaulted, her life spins out of control as the accused and the media document everything. Her life ruined, Emma is left wondering if she indeed was 'asking for it'. I'll be honest: For the first part of the book, I didn't really like Emma at all. She just seemed like the typical mean girl. But during the second half, my heart broke for her, knowing that her story is just one of many.
Asking For It made me weep, made me rage to my very soul. I'm not going to lie, like Only Ever Yours, this book was really hard to get through, especially when I think about the most recent sexual assault cases that have surfaced in the media lately. It takes a razor-sharp look at rape culture and victim-blaming, in a way that condemns the actions of those who do those things. Emma is just one of many young women who are blamed for the actions of her attacker, and it disgusted me. God, this book. It made my heart weep, it enraged me so much I was seeing red, and I wish I could tell everyone I know to read this book. I want to shout from the rooftops about how this book should be required reading, not just for women, but for everyone. This book is so very vital and important, and it is one of my favorite novels of the year, and probably ever. Just read it. Go get it from the library, or the bookstore, clear your schedule, and read it. I can personally guarantee that you won't be disappointed. The bottom line: An absolutely important and vital piece of literature that shines a light on rape culture, sexism, and victim-blaming, Asking For It is one of my favorite books ever--O'Neill has won me over for the second time! Next on deck: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando!