Monday, December 31, 2018

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill is a novel that has been on my radar for a quite while. So, I am glad that I was able to obtain a copy of it to read. Asking For It by Louise O'Neill was my last read and 89th read for 2018.

Initially, I did find it difficult to get into the flow of Asking For It by Louise O'Neill for two main reasons. First, too many characters were introduced at the start of this young adult novel and secondly, the Irish colloquialisms used were different from the American ones, making this book a bit difficult to follow at first.

Additionally, I didn't like the main character, Emma O'Donovan at the start of Asking For It by Louise O'Neill, as she was stuck up and acted entitled. She seemed to use people for her own benefit.

As the novel moves along, Emma O'Donovan is brutally gang raped while she is passed out from alcohol and drugs at a party. She's left like a heap of trash on her front porch to be found by her parents the following morning. 

Emma has no idea she's even been gang raped until the next day at school when she's been alienated by her friends and classmates who blame her for being easy and having sex willingly with a group of boys. Things go from bad to worse when Emma discovers photos of herself naked, unconscious, and being violated by the perpetrators on social media... Everyone calls Emma every bad name in the book (skank, whore, slut, easy) and worse!

The aftermath of Emma's rape is ugly, very ugly, and beyond brutal. Louise O'Neill is a skilled writer as she captures the ptsd symptoms that Emma endures, the stereotypes, double standards, and shame blaming that goes along with rape and attempting to bring it to trial that women endure. 

The boys being accused go on living their daily lives virtually unscathed, but Emma's life drastically changes as she is shunned by her community as if the gang rape was entirely her fault. 

Emma's parents were two people that I was very angry with as I felt like they didn't truly give Emma the support she needed. Both of Emma's parents treated her badly throughout the entire situation... It's as if they blamed her for the rape even happening. The only family member who supported Emma, in my opinion, was her brother, Bryan. 

This one life event, drastically changes Emma's life forever. Her life will never be the same. No happy ending for this novel or for Emma's life.

The following is a plot summary for Asking For It by Louise O'Neill from Amazon:
Emma O'Donovan is eighteen, beautiful, and fearless. It's the beginning of summer in a quiet Irish town and tonight she and her friends have dressed to impress. Everyone is at the party, and all eyes are on Emma.

The next morning Emma's parents discover her collapsed on the doorstop of their home, unconscious. She is disheveled, bleeding, and disoriented, looking as if she had been dumped there.

To her distress, Emma can't remember what happened the night before. All she knows is that none of her friends will respond to her texts. At school, people turn away from her and whisper under their breath. Her mind may be a blank as far as the events of the previous evening, but someone has posted photos of it on Facebook under a fake account, "Easy Emma"--photos she will never be able to forget.

As the photos go viral and a criminal investigation is launched, the community is thrown into tumult. The media descends, neighbors chose sides, and people from all over the world want to talk about her story. Everyone has something to say about Emma.

Asking For It is a powerful story about the devastating effects of rape and public shaming, told through the awful experience of a young woman whose life is changed forever by an act of violence.
I am giving Asking For It by Louise O'Neill a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!


  1. Wow, sounds like a rather brutal read. That whole scene makes my blood boil but I guess you already knew that-:)

    1. Brutal and depressing reading... And yes, the entire topic makes your blood boil.

  2. That's quite a cover! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, quite a cover indeed! It was an emotional roller coaster to read this book... Not a happy ending either.

  3. This one will be too hard for me to read. Your review alone gets my blood boiling and makes me want to cry.

    1. This was definitely a difficult novel to read due to the topic of the novel.

      Yes, it boiled my blood too.

  4. Sounds like a very heavy read. And such a provocative cover, too.