Tuesday, 9 February 2016

3 Thoughts I Have About Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Asking For It by Louise O'Neill
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 up 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 some people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes.

Trigger Warning: This post talks a lot about, and uses the word rape alot.
For whatever reason, Asking For It didn't completely blow me away. I can't pinpoint what it is that hasn't left me feeling attached to the book in anyway but I do know that everyone needs to read this book. If you have been a reader of this blog for a while you might know my stance on talking about sex and rape culture in books, I have, after all, written a post about it. So, I will stand by Asking For It until my feet fall off because I believe in this book that much, and here are 3 thoughts I have about it.

1) We need so many more books about this topic.
Yes, we have Asking For It and Asking For It is a brilliant book about this topic but we need a million more, two million, three million - you get the point? Someone might not connect to the first book they read about rape culture, or the second, or the third but the fourth could be the charm or the fifth or the sixth. If we only have one or two books talking about such a vast and let's face it, very personal, topic then we're not going to reach everyone who needs to be reached.

2) Emma O'Donovan is not a very likeable person.
She's not. She's mean to her friends, to everyone. She's jealous and petty and manipulative and I could not be more happy that Louise O'Neill didn't write an innocent character. It's so easy to think 'She was so nice, she didn't deserve it!' but Emma wasn't nice, and she didn't deserve it either. No body deserves it, and that's exactly the point.

3) It is very reflective of a real case.
I'm sure a lot of you have heard of the Steubenville case (if not, google it), and Asking For It felt like an entire commentary on that case, while remaining fiction. The people who committed the crime are local athletes, Emma was drunk/high, the crime was filmed and posted on social media, Emma and her family received death threats, she was accused of ruining their lives. I, personally, loved this aspect. It gave me something to think about, something real to relate it to, and reminded me and will remind so many others that it happens. It happens and so little is done about it.

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