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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Asking for It by Louise O'neill

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 . . .

Author: Louise O'Neill
Title: Asking For It
Publishers: Quercus
Publication Date: 3rd Sept 2015
Link: Uk: Amazon   US: Amazon

My Review

This is a hard hitting and harrowing account of an eighteen year old girl in Ireland who goes to a party, gets drunk and has sex with an older man and the next thing she knows she wakes up on her front porch the following day when her mum and dad find her lying there. She is still completely out of it and can't understand why she's in pain, that is until she gets to school and starts seeing disgusting  explicit photo's on social media of her being raped by four men, supposedly friends of hers. She is understandably mortified especially when her best friends also turn against her.

Reading this book made me realise that we have all kind of been brought up with the Asking for it mentality, in this example she was villified for being a slut and a whore whereas the general consensus seemed to be that lads were just being lads and it got out of hand. This example was made even worse by the instantaneous sharing of the images of facebook and the internet. When her brother tries to persuade her she's been raped and she should prosecute, she still feels all the guilt and worries that she is ruining their lives. As it sinks in what has happened to her and the fact that she can't remember she goes into a deep depression and this has a dramatic effect on the rest of the family and she just wants it to be over.

This is a highly emotive subject and Louise O'Neill fearlessly shines a torch on something that most of us would rather sweep under the carpet. It raises the importance of girls knowing how to take care of themselves and taking responsibility, being aware that taking drugs and drinking too much can leave them vulnerable to all sorts of dangerous situations and more importantly that men should be educated to respect women and to know that an unconscious woman cannot give consent and so if they have sex with them it is automatically rape. 

The acts committed in this book were despicable yet disturbingly the hatred was directed at the victim and sympathy given to the perpetrators which is so wrong. Emma had made a choice to have sex with one man she was then abused and attacked by a group of other men in the most humiliating way, she was most definitely NOT asking for it!

Thank you to Isabelle Broom from Heat magazine for my copy of the book.

Book Angel x

About the Author

Louise O'Neill was born in west Cork in 1985. She studied English at Trinity College Dublin and has worked for the senior style director of American Elle magazine. She is currently working as a freelance journalist for a variety of Irish national newspapers and magazines. She lives in Clonakilty, west Cork, her website is and you can find her on Twitter @oneilllo.

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