Review: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

25255576Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: September 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Quercus
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Rape, Feminism

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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…


Emma O’Donovan is not a character Louise O’Neill created to narrate this book.

Emma exists. She’s everywhere. Where you are, where I am, where everyone is. There are Emmas all over the world.

Which is why it’s so important for people to read this book.

Rape cases happen so often that we’ve come to trivialize them in our culture, it’s true. The word rape has always had a negative connotation to it, and it still does (no one wants to talk about it), but it’s still not taken seriously enough.

And we have Emma as proof.

Louise O’Neill is an outstanding writer. She asks a lot of questions to the readers with this book. And most importantly, she challenges us.

Emma is a bitch. She’s shallow, selfish, envious. A thief, a liar, a phony. A bitch, a slut,

a victim.

Was she asking for it? Is she really a victim? Did she give her consent or not? Does she deserve what happened to her? Is this a cautionary tale for all teen girls?

If she had been different – nicer, lovelier, less of a bitch – would the response had been different also?

There’s nothing magical about this book, but it’s still spellbinding. And scary. And ugly. And sad. And frustrating.

But oh so realistic and honest. Even the ending is.

Thank you Louise O’Neill for no sugar-coating.

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12 thoughts on “Review: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

  1. This seems like such an essential book to pick up. I’ve been trying to read more societal books and this one sounds like a perfect read for that. I’m so glad you liked it and thought the author didn’t sugarcoat things. That’s one of the most important things to do in books that are providing societal commentary and I’m so glad the author came through on that. Lovely review, Lola!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks


  2. I’ve never read this book, or anything by O’Neill, or anything that has rape/rape culture. Of course it is a topic that needs to be made more aware of, as continuously we are seeing cases where the victim is to blame. Will definitely be adding this to my TBR.


  3. Pingback: Book Reviews 10-2-16 | SVM & TB Stories

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