Thursday, March 31, 2016
REVIEW for Asking For It
Thank you to Kaitlin at HGBC Canada for giving me an electronic copy of this book.
TITLE: Asking For It
AUTHOR; Louise O'Neill
RATING; 4.5 STARS
I have noticed a definite shift in my reading patterns in the last few years, especially with YA. I like to feel challenged by what I read - which is one of the reasons I have gravitated to thoroughly to YA with a message - social issues, a book with something important to say.
Asking for It, definitely falls within this parameter. In fact, at times, I had to actually physically put down my Kindle and let what I just read sink in.
This book is about rape and the culture that surrounds it and author O'Neill does NOT shy away from ANY of it.
Emma, our main character, is not someone I would like and if she were my daughter, I think I would just lock her up in her room until she was 30 or until the got a clue - whichever came first. I say this because Emma, for me, is a composite of so many YA that I am meeting these days - clueless about so many things, especially sex and ALL the ramifications around it. All this ranting on my part, to say, that O'Neill does an amazing job of writing characters that ring completely true to me - and in many ways, that is a sad commentary about life right now.
Emma thinks that she can get what she wants from anyone and plays into that, milking it for all it is worth! So, when she gets drunk and high at a party and wakes up the next morning without any memories or responsibility for any of her actions, she has to come face to face with the facts - SHE WAS RAPE and because she lives in 2016 - her horrific experience is electronically captured for everyone's entertainment.
Now, judgements abound - everyone has an opinion on what happened and, of course, on whether Emma "asked for it but being seductive and throwing around her sexuality, while drinking and doing drugs" - hence, the title of the book ASKING FOR IT.
What works for me the most, in this book, is the "after" look at rape and how it is viewed in our society today. Victim blaming and shaming, the responsibility of other people in the digital age, the responsibility Emma needs to shoulder, the role of the Internet in trivializing sexual acts and sexuality.
All of it is explored, in a deep, respectful yet very realistic way in this novel. Yes, this is a novel, but the many layers brought out by O'Neill on this very touchy yet incredibly timely subject must definitely be admired by those of us who loved this book.
This is a tough book to read and, for me, at times, I felt a tad lost because it is obviously based on Britain wording (in many instances) but the main plot is so intriguing and challenges us to reflect honestly on how we really view rape and its aftermath - an amazing read.