Review: Asking For It by Louise O' Neill

Title: Asking For It
Author: Louise O'Neill
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Publication Date: September 3rd 2015
Part of A Series?: A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: I bought it!
Blurb Description: 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... 

 "What did she expect?”

I have a story to tell you. I went for an excursion with my batch mates last October. We were told to carry polo shirts and loose jeans, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on polos because I never would wear them otherwise, and so I decided to carry normal (and pretty baggy) round neck t-shirts like the “I Love NY” tourist ones and did a lot of the other girls because well, it was an adventure camp and those tees are just more comfortable.

On the second day, as we got down for breakfast the teachers that accompanied us on the trip made
all the boys exit the room, and asked the girls to stand in a line, like we were in a police line-up. They walked past all the girls and back again to the front. After we had all individually been subjected to the judging looks on their faces, they addressed us as a group, informing us that our full length jeans and our t-shirts that covered everything up to the base of our necks was not appropriate to wear out in society. They made us cover our already covered necks with scarves, tuck them inside our jackets and zip them up. Day after day, we were subjected to the same ridicule, and yet we did nothing. Except feel flustered, and angry, and wronged. And we did nothing and said nothing.

It wasn’t a big deal, but we were pretty mad – I was pretty mad. There was nothing wrong with the way we were dressing, but there we were anyway, being subjected to the same thing as girls anywhere else in the world. Judgement. And it was terrible.

The word comes automatically. No. No. No. No. It’s all I say these days. It’s as if I’m making up for the time when I couldn’t say it. When I wasn’t given the chance to say it.

And this was only one of the small reasons why Asking For It struck such a chord within me; one of the reasons why I understood this so much better.       
Emma O’ Donovan is the pretty girl. The one you see walking around in clothes too short, the one who is always perfect. She’s just one all the girls want to be and all the boys want to be with. And then one summer night, there’s a party. And Emma is trying to be anything but herself; just a little more out there, and there’s drugs and drinks and boys.

And after that night, her life is never the same again.

This is the rawest book on rape that I have ever read. I stayed up until two in the night, and then cried. Because this is the realest book any girl will ever get to read – the one that every girl should read. Whether what happened to Emma unfortunately happens to another girl or even if it doesn’t, everyone goes through what she does in some way or another – big or small – during the course of their lives, and Louise O’ Neill writes about it in the most... Well. She just does. And it will break your heart.

Because we don’t talk about rape, or abuse, or slut shaming, or anything that would make our lives difficult and we just don’t deal with it. Our families, our friends and even ourselves, we don’t. We don’t think it’s right to be open about it, we don’t feel free to talk about it the 21st century. We want to forget, we want to pretend it never happened and the world supports us when we supress ourselves.

It’s like Louise’s afterword. We need to talk. The world needs to talk. And what’s right and what’s wrong, about blaming the victim, about questioning the victim and most importantly, consent. 

Points For: EVERYTHING. 

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