Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

Title: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O'Neill
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: July 2nd 2015
Part of A Series?: Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: I bought it here: Amazon

Blurb Description: In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.
For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.
Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.
But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . . 

‘I am a good girl. I am pretty. I am always happy go lucky.’

It has taken me a really long while to write this review. I’ve attempted it from time to time, but each time, I felt like what I was saying wasn’t enough; I felt like wasn’t saying enough on how necessary it is to read this book and I felt like I wasn’t spreading the message that this book drilled into me well enough.

‘I am pretty. I am a good girl. I always do what I am told.’

Look around you. No, really look. And try to remember the last time when someone told you that, being a girl or even being a part of society, meant you had to do something; you had to be some other version of yourself, that you didn't entirely want to be. Try and remember if you accepted it or not. If you were willing to do something someone else told you, just because they said it was better.

Try an remember when the last time you judged someone by their looks, and remember the last time you were judged based on your skin colour, your weight, you clothing.

Try and remember the last time that boys were let away with ‘Oh, they’re boys’ and girls, such as yourself, shunned for doing the exact same thing that the boys did.

Try and remember the last time you were told that you were ‘supposed’ to do things a certain way.

We live in a world of double standards and unrealistic ideals, and we don’t even realise it, but Louise O’Neill’s books will leave you with a new sense of dread and understanding.

Imagine our world as a school, where women (eves) are genetically modified to look their "best" from a catalogue. Imagine growing up in a place where there is a fat girl buffet, and a thin girl buffet, and if you go to the former, you’re ridiculed. Imagine you’ve grown up your whole life, being ranked on a chart based on what you look like. 

Imagine a world where the girls need to do everything and be everything that man wants her to me, because they’re the better sex.

This, of course, is a dystopian novel but look around you and you will see that EVERY scary thing I just spoke about, WE ACTUALLY DO IT. Intentionally, and unintentionally. It happens here, in this supposedly modern 20th century. And it should shock you, it should disgust you, because it is shocking and disgusting.

Freida is an eve. Designed, prepared, good, obedient, pretty. And her goal is to become a companion and give her husband a hundred sons, so that he may grant her a sliver of freedom, like having her own TV show. Freida is going to make it.

And so are the hundreds of other eves in the program. After all,

‘Only the best will be chosen. And only the men will decide.’
The most real, unsettling novel you will ever read, and I couldn’t recommend it more.

Have you read Louise O'Neill books? If you haven't, YOU SHOULD! (She is on my auto buy list!)

Tell me which book to read next, because I NEED something that good!

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