CW: This book deals with the aftermath of a sexual assault from the survivor's point of view.
O'Neill artfully writes from inside the head of a rape survivor from days before the assault to a few years post. Emma O' Donovan, our protagonist, is not an outspoken feminist activist and for the most part, refuses to even think the word 'rape.' Her life is turned upside down, not just from the rape itself, but the aftermath is almost as tragic. Within feminist circles, we often bemoan the way the mainstream media covers rape cases, but Asking for It shows how feminist sites are eager for rape survivors to tell their side of the story as their own click bait. Emma is equally haunted by op-eds that state she is making it all up as well as the flood of requests from feminist sites and the trending supportive hashtags.
I don't want to be their champion.
I don't want to be brave.
I don't want to be a hero.
When did we all become fluent in this language
that none of us wanted to learn?
So many things make this an excellent read. O'Neill sets up Emma as a spoiled party girl, who even commits the sin of slut-shaming herself. In an early scene, she even talks down one of her girlfriend's date rape. She plots about how to bag the next of her trophies. She is beautiful and wields that beauty as a weapon. Knowing that she will be the victim of a rape makes you question all the dislike O'Neill sets up. As a feminist who knows all the tropes and stereotypes that we must fight to end rape culture, I still caught myself thinking all the things: "Don't keep drinking!" "Don't go in there!" Asking for It is a horror flick and you keep yelling at the book hoping to change the ending, but you know it is all for naught.
There were definitely places in the book where I could not stop reading as well as places where I needed to walk away from the book for a bit. This book should not be an after school special warning for young women as to the dangers of excessive partying. Rather this book is a wake-up to those of us who want to support survivors or who are forced to support survivors. Seriously, her parents do this all wrong or at least Emma thinks they do. This book exemplifies why some survivors do nothing but "go on" with their lives. This book will stay with you long after you finish.
Asking for It goes on sale April 5th. Please purchase your own copy of Asking for It from Powells or Indiebound and support Viva la Feminista.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy from a publicist.
GIVEAWAYI have three copies to giveway!
- To enter, simply comment with your email address. Seriously, without an email, I can't get a hold of you.
- Extra entries awarded if you share this review on Twitter (tag me @veronicaeye) or Facebook (tag me @vivalafeminista).
- Once all entries are in, I will number the entries, toss into Random.org and that magical machine will select a winner.
- This giveaway is limited to shipping addresses in the USA and sorry no PO Boxes.