Book Reviews

Asking For It Book Review

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

Louise O’Neill – Asking For It
3/5 stars

I stumbled across this novel on Tik Tok late one evening and was intrigued by the heavy topic. I bought and downloaded the e-book and stayed up late, finished about 60% of it, and then finished the rest when I woke up. I have a lot of thoughts about this book, so keep reading and find out if this is something you’d like to read or not!

Trigger Warnings for this book: rape, attempted suicide, self-harm, bullying

Synopsis (no spoilers)

Emma is a beautiful, confident 18 year old that all the boys pine after. Being your typical teen, Emma and her friends head to a party one evening. Drinking and mischief ensues. Suddenly, it’s the next morning and Emma wakes up on her front porch. She doesn’t know how she got there, what happened last night, or why she is currently in a bunch of pain. Pulling out her phone, she notices she has A LOT of Facebook notifications. There are explicitly detailed pictures of her that were taken the night before and now everyone knows what she got into at the party. Even with photo evidence, people don’t believe what happened that night and Emma has to battle with her peers, her family, her home town, the country of Ireland, and her own soul.

My Thoughts

Writing:

  • I was not a fan of the writing style of this author. I struggled a lot following the story because there was a lack of transitions. I almost DNFed this book 3 times within the first 30 pages. There were a lot of times, after that, that I wanted to stop reading. However, I felt strongly about the topic and was invested in that, not the writing.
  • I struggled forming ‘relationships’ with the characters because of the writing. Sometimes I felt like I was reading someone’s drunk diary entries and I wasn’t able to grasp concepts of the character’s personalities. I managed to understand the main character and a few of her friends, but it was very difficult.

Characters:

  • I knew very little about the characters going into the book, but I absolutely could not stand the main character, Emma. She was unlikable, a terrible friend, and at times, cruel. Her mother was also a terrible person. She was all about appearance and the status-quo; dress to impress type of woman.
  • Emma’s friends were also all over the place. I think I liked Maggie the most, but again, it was hard for me to get a feel for them because of the writing styles.

Plot:

  • The plot was definitely realistic and something that, unfortunately, happens all to often to young women and young men. Emma was raped at a party and, even with photo evidence, people used her persona to try and say she was asking for it. This is the case too many times and it’s ridiculous. Some of the details were very explicit and were hard to read, but they were real. All I could think was “this has happened to someone, maybe even someone I know, and I can’t imagine how they feel that no one believes them…especially when all the signs are right in their faces.” My heart did go out for Emma, because no one deserves what she went through. I do think that O’Neill handled a hard topic to write about very well.
  • The ending was not the ending I wanted, but again, it was an ending that so many people have experienced. We don’t live in a perfect world where a case like this will <always> be solved and everything will resume for the victim. So, kudos to O’Neill for giving us a realistic ending and not one that we wanted.

Overall

  • In the end, this book was a heavy hitter, but for me, the writing made it difficult for me to feel its impact. I wanted so much to understand the situations that are happening day by day, but I struggled. I also can see how this book could be very triggering for someone that has gone through this experience themselves. I hope if anyone is wishing to read this book, reads someone’s review before hand, even if it’s just to see trigger warnings. Mental health is SO important, and it’s easy to lose ourselves, in good and bad ways, when we read books.

Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read this book. I’m interested to see what other people think of the writing and content!

You can purchase Asking For it here!

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