Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill

Title: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O'Neill
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: 3 July 2014
Pages: 400
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Me Before You

In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.

Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. .. And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .
This is probably the most shocking, depressing young adult dystopia
I have ever read. There are so many issues presented, such as eating disorders, body dysmorphia, drug abuse, violence against women and many more. It is oddly relatable, especially the catty interactions between all of the ‘eves’.

All of them are competing against each other, all trying to be the prettiest ‘eve’. They are all obsessed with weight, appearance and being perfect. All of the issues presented are just exaggerated versions of the same issues affecting many women today.

 It disturbed me deeply, ‘eves’ who become companions or concubines have a termination date which is around 35-40. If the companions cannot conceive sons, they are disposed of – it is all very dark and misogynistic.

 The ending is not a happy one but it is realistic for that world. The main character, Freida is not lovable but she embodies an insecure teen who tries to fit in perfectly. The mystery of what is happening to Isabel is also very intriguing and kind of pulls you through the plot.

 I did find it slow in parts, it is slow to start out but I persevered and could not put it down past the mid-way point. I think by presenting the issues affecting the ‘eves’ so extremely it really makes the reader think about the same issues affecting women in real life and how disturbing and unnecessary it all really is. It forces the reader to confront and question many aspects of society – I found it very haunting.

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