Review: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O’Neill
Publication Date: 3rd July 2014
I was so incredibly excited to read this book because it was different to anything I have ever read before. It was a mixture of sci-fi and dystopia which is not normally what I pick up. In the world O’Neill created, women are made in labs therefore they are made perfectly with no flaws. All through school they are taught that their sole purpose in life is to please men, and although they were created perfectly: there is always room for improvement. The girls are ranked by their prettiness, and the high rankers are usually become “companions” where their purpose is to bear as many sons as possible. If you are not chosen as a companion by one of the Inheritants (boys), you will end up as “concubine” or a chastity at the school. As a feminist, this whole concept enraged me as all the girls wanted to do was please the men, never understanding their full potential as women.
The atmosphere in the school was absolutely toxic. As you can imagine, every girl fought to be the most perfect, leading to competitions on who can eat the least, or who has the skinniest figure. There were the elite few who were always ranked high, and everyone else fought to be included in this group. All the female names in the book were written without a capital letter to symbolise their second place in society, which I thought was a clever little addition on O’Neill’s part.
However because of this toxic environment, the girls weren’t very likeable therefore I found it hard to connect to the characters. It was hard for me to like freida in particular, because she always tried to please others, never taking her own initiative. I felt like screaming at the book sometimes because her actions really frustrated me. isabel and agyness were the only girls that slightly rebelled against the system in their own way, so they were by far my favourite characters. They weren’t afraid to be different, and I really admired that about them both.
I found the book absolutely fascinating to read, and I would highly recommend everyone to read this book especially if you are a feminist. It really put everything into perspective for me, and it further reinforced my feminism views. However, the storyline was a little disappointing towards the end. I thought the story had so much more potential and it didn’t really live up to the rest of the book. After finishing the book I was expecting to feel some sort of accomplishment, but that never really came. I ended up just feeling like “oh”. For that reason, I don’t think I can give it 4/5 stars, but that does not mean I didn’t enjoy reading the book, because I really really did, especially the beginning and middle!
If you’ve read this book, let me know in the comments!