Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (Spoiler Free! – also this book does contain triggers for mental health and rape, so be aware of that before reading this review.)
The second book I read in February 2017. And by god… It was good, but not in the conventional sense. It’s one of those books that you’re meant to read, but not to enjoy, if you get my drift.
First of all – the protagonist is not likable. Which makes this book incredibly hard to read, if you’re like me and find it easier to get through novels with amazing heroines and heroes. But I know this is intentional, I’ve checked it with a few other reviews I’ve been reading online, and I think my conclusions with this book are pretty… Okay, I guess? That’s not the right word, but it’s almost one am and I’m typing this out pretty feverishly before all my ideas go away.
Emma is a bitch, very snobbish and not really someone you want as a friend. She’s incredibly beautiful, too, and definitely knows it. Confidence and arrogance are the names of the game here. She is given a very narrow worldview though – her dad only values her purity and her mother seems to think that her extreme prettiness will be the thing that will make her successful, over anything else.
She does have friends, although they’re questionable. They’re bloody horrible to one another, a concept I find hard to wrap my head around. It’s hard to read, everyone pulling each other down so much like that, but then again, I think that’s intentional.
I will say now, as a teenage girl, most friendship groups aren’t like that. Not in the way the book depicts it. Maybe it’s different for people in different places, but where I live we tend to get along.
The book does deal with rape and the whole idea of rape culture as a whole, which are topics that definitely need more discussion. It was an interesting read, overall, you can tell that the author really researched it well and looked into everything. Emma seems real, her experiences are real, she is real. And not just within her own ‘Emma’ self, too.
The number one thing I got from this story is that there are Emmas everywhere, victims of rape and sexual assault who can’t speak out, can’t get help, can’t do anything, for whatever reason. The best thing with novels like these is that it gets people to speak up about their experiences, gets them to discuss them and take action to stop it happening to others.
I didn’t enjoy this novel’s content, but I like the message it sends out and it’s put a whole different perspective on how I see sexual assault and rape.