Sunday, 19 July 2015

Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

Only Ever YoursPublisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 3rd July 2014
Pages: 392 (Paperback) 
Genre: Dystopia
Source: Bought
frieda and isabel have been best friends their whole lives. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year of school, they expect to be selected as companions - wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternate - life as a concubine - is too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain becomes almost unbearable. isabel starts to self destruct, putting her beauty - her only asset - in peril. And then the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

I seriously regret not reading this sooner. Honestly, it was because the cover creeped me out, but still, I digress. Only Ever Yours was phenomenal - and may very possibly be one of the best books I've ever read. It's not a favourite, and I don't think it's something I'm in a hurry to reread. This is a book that needs a lot of mulling over before you revisit for more. 

This was so good that upon finishing the book, I opened a word document, and wrote a 2 page essay on why it was such a good way to promote feminism, and how sexism needs to become something of the past very quickly. It's an awful essay, but I needed to write something to gather my thoughts on what I'd just read.

Almost every character was dislikeable - even freida, and yet in spite of this, I found myself rooting for her to be okay in the end, and to get what she wanted. And then there was isabel, who felt like a voice of reason amongst the screams of sexism and inequality. She shattered the boundaries of normality in this futuristic society, and I loved how when freida was talking about isabel's weight gain, isabel just said "but it's my body." You should be allowed to be whatever shape and size you want to be, and do whatever you want with your body. 

So much of this book was about how girls and women perceive each other. We all take each other on a critical level, and I feel like no real friends could ever be formed in this future because everyone was always competing to be #1 in the rankings. To be a feminist is horrific, and to have intelligence is a sin. Beauty is everything. There is constant competition to be the prettiest, and to look the best, but isn’t what we define as pretty different in every person’s eyes? Perfection is key, and yet so many of the girls suffered from diagnosable mental health problems including bullimia and anorexia. Such immense corruption fills this bleak future. Of any dystopian world I have ever read about, this is by far the worst.

I could write another six paragraphs bursting with spoilers, but you really  need to go into Only Ever Yours with little knowledge of what lies amongst the pages. If you're a feminist, this will hugely strengthen your beliefs. If you're not, or know someone who isn't, then I seriously suggest you pick up this book, read it, and then have a careful think about where you stand. 

Shocking, intense and a complete page turner - this book has made me even more of a feminist than I was before. 

Holly x


  1. Yesss I LOVED IT TOO. I had a really weird reaction though. I totally hated it when I finished. I felt cheated and that it was unfair and pointless and raaaage. xD Buuuut. I stopped. I thought about it. And now I love it. I think it says so much truth, and it totally points at issues that are present today. Sure, it blows them up extremely. bUT STILL. So much of it was actually true for today's society definition of beauty and body image. It was scary. 0_0 EXCEPTIONALLY AWESOME THOUGH.

    1. It was scary - because it is so true of modern and probably future societies. A fantastically good book though.


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