#bookreview: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill


Asking For It CoverFormat:  Paperback
Publisher: Quercus UK
Published: 3rd September 2015
Pages: 346 Pages

The Blurb
In a small town, where everyone knows everyone, Emma O’Donovan is different. She is the special one – beautiful, popular,  powerful. And she works hard to keep it that way.

Until that night… Now, she’s an embarrassment. Now, she’s a slut. Now, she is nothing.

And those pictures – those pictures that everyone has seen – mean she can never forget.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

The story is all about Emma O’Donovan, she’s your “typical” teenager, 17 years old, curious, sexually charged and likes to have a drink (or several) with friends. To everyone else she is confident and strong, but  one night changes that and Emma’s life will never be the same again.

I was in two minds whether or not to mention why Emma’s life would never be the same again, but I think it’s been documented quite a lot on the Internet as to what Asking For It is about. Emma is raped and subjected to a series of events by a group of boys from her school.

Asking For It is definitely a book that you should read in your life. It will open your eyes to the situations woman have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, and more importantly, how the general public treat them afterwards. Whilst reading, I often felt sadness and anger because I couldn’t believe that things like this happened, not so much the crime, but the way it is dealt with by those involved. It was no secret that Emma was drunk, but never ever is it acceptable to do something with someone just because they’re drunk. Many people in the book said she was ‘asking for it’, which is a sick thing to say.

I’ve decided to do something different and use the discussion questions detailed in the back of my copy.  There are quite a few points available to discuss, so I’ve decided to include four different topics.

There’s a read more tag to hide a few little spoilers – you have been warned!

Please be aware,  there are some spoilers listed below. It won’t ruin the story for you, just reveal some parts.

What role does social media play on the novel?
It plays a very big role! I’m a firm believer in social media being the best thing since sliced bread, but I also think  it’s the work of the devil (a massive contradiction!) What I mean is that Emma was subjected to horrible things that would happen regardless of social media. it’s just nowadays we like to document ever aspect of our life and that’s what happened. The pictures and videos of what happened to Emma ruined her life, it was worse for her knowing that everyone else saw it.

What values has Emma learned from her mother?  What do you think of them?
Nora (Emma’s mother) was a perfectionist and everything, including appearances, needed to be perfect. She made sure dinner was on the table, her family dressed a certain way and that her home was presentable. Writing them down, they’re clearly not bad things and I think it’s great that she felt that way. However, the degree to which she wanted to be perfect was too much for Emma and I think she clearly wanted to rebel. It’s the whole ‘keeping up appearances’ no one wants people to think bad of them, so Emma’s rape and the fact she was drinking is talk of the town.

What do you think of Emma’s father?
Personally, I think he was heartless, but then again, he was just trying to uphold his ‘masculine’ and ‘strong’ exterior. No parent wants to know their child has been subjected to something so horrific, especially when they didn’t even know about it. Again, as I said in the social media question, it was probably worse for him knowing that everyone else knew about it.

Do you think Emma is a strong character? What do you imagine the future holds for her?
I did think she was a strong character, but the more I read, the more I felt she was crumbling. Unfortunately, unless she is honest with her psychiatrist and the people around her, her depression and mental illness will take over. Other than her brother Bryan, no one else seems to be ‘helping’, they’re just as depressed and sad, which I suppose is suspected. It’s a hard one really!

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Published by Clare

Book lover, tea drinker and sushi fiend!

4 thoughts on “#bookreview: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

  1. This book is on my TBR. It makes me sick that in this day and age we still blame women for what happens to them. Great review!

    1. It’s horrid and sick. I hate that people blame it on drink or the way the person dresses. You should defintiely give it a read 😊

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