20 October, 2015

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

This is an absolutely stunning book set in  a horrifying future dystopia where females are the chattels of men.

Picture an education facility where girls from the age of four undergo 12 years of intensive training and grooming to be presented as offerings to the “inheritants”. Yes that’s right, the males, because as it is written “the men shall inherit the earth. It’s the old Madonna/Whore dichotomy, to be chosen as companion is the penultimate goal, the revered perfect, all subservient adoring wife.

Girls are rated publically and their flaws analysed in microscopic detail so they can compete to be chosen. To not make the grade leaves you with the  option of concubine or the aesthetic, teacher. Think sack cloth and ashes, a life of celibacy married to the greater good of the institution, preparing and perpetuating the factory processing and moulding of future generations of girls.

Lessons revolve around “appropriate” female behaviour, girls are encouraged to perform the obsessive rituals of checking their appearance and how they rate against their counterparts. Calorie blockers are taken to make sure girls do not go above their target weight, and indications of appetite or appreciation of any morsel of food is seen as weakness and a character flaw. Ok, in my excitement about this novel I’ve basically rewritten the plot summary. Oops. Such was my enthusiasm I couldn’t stop myself. This book has similarities to Margaret Atwood’s classic text A Handmaid’s Tale. Read it immediately, and wince at the ease at which you can imagine this nightmarish future.

Title: Only ever yours
Author: Louise O'Neill

Reviewed by: Sue W Central Library

Sue W obeys her cats and lives to please them, sometimes she is allowed some free time to read so long as she answers the service bell when it rings.

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