books · realistic fiction · reviews

Asking for it by Louise O’Neill


TITLE: Asking for it
WRITTEN BY: Louise O’Neill
HOW I GOT IT: Quercus Books through netgalley
PAGES: 346
GENRE: young adult, contemporary, abuse, realistic fiction, feminism.



(PLOT BY GR) 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: Thank you to Quercus Books for giving me an advance copy of Asking for it by Louise O’Neill in exchange of an honest review.

It hasn’t been an easy reading. O’Neill has written a bold and trutuhful story about rape — I’ve actually found all the characters responses very real: all the characters are ready to judge the victim and yelling at her “it’s your fault” or “what did you expect?”. Even the victim’s family doesn’t really her side, except for her brother!

I wasn’t drag by the story since the first page: I’ve found the main character, Emma, so annoying — she’s not a character with I usually get in touch to. She’s selfish, self-centric, not at all a supportive person. She’s a distructive person. I couldn’t stand her at the start of the novel. She even has a friend who got raped and Emma recommended her to not tell anyone. You’ve got the picture.
Until something worse happens to Emma: she has been raped from FOUR different guys during a party where she drank too much. She doesn’t remember a single thing. Emma learns about what happened to the party through pictures posted on a Facebook’s page called “Easy Emma”.
Everything starts to judge her as a slut and a whore, almost nobody at her school decides to pick her side. It really hurts to read something like this.

This book is a story against our current world, even the title is reporting what too many people still think when a girl is wearing a dress or drinks too much she was “ASKING FOR IT”. This book is a yell of help.
There’s also cyberbullying in it: Emma has been insulted and called names on “Easy Emma” page, but the bullying doesn’t stop after she reported everything to the police. Emma still receives death treaths daily.

Sometimes the book is really hard to read, i.e. they talk about Emma’s case during a radio’s show and people who intervened judge her as an easy person, they called her a whore or a slut just because she likes boys or because she was wearing a short dress. One time there was this character who was saying girls on these days are getting out of home with short dresses and drink a lot “I mean what did you expect?” — This sentence just made me sick. I know it’s just a book, but sadly I recently read similiar comments on a rape news on Facebook. In the real world. SICK.

Louise O’Neill portaited brilliantly a realistic fiction. Everything starts with cyberbullying with the purpose to disminish Emma as a whore and a slut, but it created proof(s) to support the rape case. It’s so realistic even the fact that Emma keeps searching excuses for her attackers, she keeps saying ‘I’m sorry’. She doesn’t even want to pronounce the word ‘rape’. Emma doesn’t want to believe on what is happening to her: she’s even try to defend them. “It was a joke. I wasn’t sleeping. I was faking it.”

FAVOURITE CHARACTER Bryan is Emma’s brother. He is the only one who really wants justice for her sister. He is terrified for Emma: he was the one who found her almost dead for 2 times, so he always keeps on eye on her and he’s afraid to leave her alone. He also feels guilty to not protect her that night.


“They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.”

“My body is not my own any more. They have stamped their names all over it.”

RECOMMEND THE BOOK: yes, of course! It won’t be an easy reading, but people needs to educate themselves more. You need to read more realistic fiction.

3 thoughts on “Asking for it by Louise O’Neill

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