Asking For It: A Review

by , Thursday December 14, 2017
Asking For It: A Review

Asking For It: A Review


I'm twenty-years old. I'm from the United States of America. I live with my grandparents. I was not popular in school. I was never extroverted, extremely liked, or incredibly beautiful. I am a real person.

Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old. Emma O'Donovan is from Ireland. She lives with her parents. Emma O'Donovan is (was) the most popular girl in school. Everyone loved her. Everyone wanted her beauty. Emma O'Donovan is a fictional character.

Though I've listed all of the differences between the two of us, we live through one similarity: we were both raped.

Emma O'Donovan doesn't like that word. I don't like that word, and I probably stared at it for five minutes after typing it, wondering if I should really use that word. For the few peolpe I've told, I've used the word molested. It sounds less harsh to me. Emma O'Donovan thinks of what happened to her in terms of "pink flesh, splayed legs."

Emma O'Donovan was a teenager at a house party. I was an eight-year old at a family gathering. 

Everyone knew about what happened to her. No one knows about what happened to me. And, I suppose, the point of this blog review of this brilliant novel by Louise O'Neill is not to tell you my story. It is to tell you Emma's. Her's is easier to talk about anyways.

The point of her novel, I'm assuming, is to take you into the mind of someone who has been raped. Someone who is not believed. Someone whose life has been destroyed by what happened to her. With all of the political controversy surrounding so many public figures, it's clearly something important to talk about. And people don't like to listen to the real stories from people, so Louise O'Neill created a fake world, with a fake girl, where people could maybe cope with the realities of sexual assault more easily than when someone that they know and love is telling them that they were sexually assaulted. Here's the thing, though: Emma O'Donovan may be a fictional character, but she embodies nearly every woman that you've ever met.

Emma embodies every woman who has been sexually harrassed or assaulted and was then told that it was her fault. She embodies every woman who spent so long trying to believe that it didn't happen, who felt ashamed of themselves, or who couldn't tell anyone at all. Emma O'Donovan embodied my worst nightmare. Her parents wanted nothing to do with her. Her father was disgusted by her, avoided any contact with her until the end of the novel, and her mother hated how Emma had soiled their family's reputation. Her friends hated her until they heard the word rape, then they felt sorry for her (Emma wanted nothing to do with them anymore). Emma embodies every woman whose feelings get confused because she's an object now.

For a novel about a girl brutally gang-raped by four boys, you should know that this is not an anti-man novel. Emma's brother and childhood best friend are the two greatest characters in the novel, and they're both males. Emma has more females turn on her than males, especially her mother.  

I'd really appreciate if someone who has not been molested/raped/sexually harrassed could read this novel. My boyfriend felt sad when I told him the plot of it, but I think that he felt more sad for me. I've been feeling the intense numbness that Emma feels the entire way through the novel for twelve years. I felt numb reading the novel. I want to know. Did it make you sad? Angry? Numb, like me? Or some other feeling entirely? 

Either way, I don't think that it makes a difference how you feel after reading this novel. All I know is that, in this time in our world, it's important to remember the victims more than the accused. 

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