Title: Asking For it
Author: Louise O’Neill
Genre: Young Adult, Feminism, Contemporary, Fiction
Publisher: Quercus UK
Blurb: 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…
Review + Discussion: I knew this book was going to be confronting but I also knew how important it was for me to read. And I loved it.
Asking For It is about Emma O’Donovan, a beautiful eighteen year old girl. She likes to be the best, the prettiest and the most wanted of all her friends. On a Saturday night, Emma and her friends go to a party where Emma is later gang raped by a group of boys she trusted. Photos and videos are taken, sent to people and posted on Facebook.
One of the reasons this book was so hard for me to read was how much victim blaming it contained. It made me so angry the way her friends turned on her, the things people said about her, the way her father could no longer look at her and how mother was trying to drink it all away.
I couldn’t really understand why nobody believed Emma when she said she was raped. It made me angry that everyone thought because she had previously had sex it meant she was asking for it. There were a couple of things about this book that made me mad, though none of them have to do with the writing. I couldn’t understand why Emma lied about what had happened in her original statement, why she had said it was just a joke. And I hated how her parents blamed her, how her brother was the only person on her side.
“It’s happened to loads of people. It happens all the time.”
I loved the writing of this book and the message it sends. I think it’s the kind of book everybody needs to read because it could start a discussion about rape culture and victim blaming.
Blaming the victim of a crime as heinous as rape is never okay. It doesn’t matter what they were wearing or saying or doing or drinking or anything because it’s never the victims fault. It saddens me knowing that in today’s society people still think rape and sexual assault is funny, something to be shared as a joke and broadcasted over the internet.
It’s not okay to deny a victim support, to tell them they’re lying, to act like it’s just going to go away. Because for that person, it never will.
Rape is something that needs to be spoken about. People need to feel okay about talking about rape. Victim blaming needs to stop and all the women (and men) of this world need and deserve to feel safe.
“It’s important that I look normal now. It’s important that I look like a good girl.”
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