Only Ever Yours

Only Ever YoursI ve put off reviewing this FOR A LONG TIME It s too hard I cannotI don t even have properly formulated thoughts I DON T KNOW WHAT TO RATE IT frets and sweats I m buddy reading this with my friend, alsowhen she finishes we can discuss and I will be so grateful, but in the meantime, if you ve read it, comfort me PLEASE HELP This book is basically a futuristic world were women are treated asbarbie dolls They re only there for sex They are nothing An insult is, Don t be academic It s the most sickening society in the world and really really awful and hard to read about I struggled I did While I HATED it with a fiery passion, that doesn t mean the book isn t good Gah Which makes it hard to rate I think it also highlighted some huge issues in today s world and just exploded them, so we can take a real good look at our tendencies Like society s definition of beauty And the viewpoint of mental health.Not only is it basically about futuristic sex slavery, it s about eating disorders too These girls must be perfect They can t be fat They constantly chant how evil and horrible fat girls are Is sickening If they put on a few pounds, they get torn to shreds by their peers It basically just shredded my brain the way they had bulimia and anorexia and how this impacted their psychological health too ERghhhh I WANTED TO SCREAM AND CRY The writing is utterly addictive I think the entire book was a tad too long Like it made a point, heck yes, it made one But at times I felt like we were just repeating the same horror story again and again and again and.move on, please I m not sure, though, if this was just because I was so uncomfortable But the attention to detail was amazing Even just down to the fact that the girls didn t have capitols in their names, because they were WORTH a capital letter Omg.But there was ONE real critique I haveit s narrated by Frieda well frieda , and now and again another girl in her year pops up who s name isFreja HECK YES THAT WAS CONFUSING I wishwishwish the secondary minor character had a totally different name My brain was struggling with the entirely new world as was Luckily she wasn t in the book so much.The moment I closed the book, I just screamed, BUT THIS IS POINTLESS It s not It s a story with a point but no conclusion I did struggle with that hence it took a few days to even attempt reviewing , but honestly This was a good but sickening book I felt 98% uncomfortable the entire time It is 100% depressing It is 1000% well written and thought provoking and feels stabbing and.gawsh Hold me I m just going to howl I didn t like the book, but it was eye opening and I m so glad I read it It was so painful It was so depressing I seriously have no idea what to think IT WAS A GOOD BOOK BUT IT WAS ALSO HORRIBLE, OKAY Best Books, Only Ever Yours By Louise ONeill This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Only Ever Yours, Essay By Louise ONeill Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You Wowwhere do I start With elements of The Stepford Wives, 1984, The Handmaid s Tale and Mean Girls this book is ABSOLUTELY one of the unusual, disturbing, and intriguing books that I have read in quite some time Apparently it was first published as a young adult book but is now being republished as an adult book This takes place in a future world where women called eves are created purely for male pleasure They are no longer bred naturally but manufactured to become one of three things when they hit the age of seventeen.companions, concubines, or chastities A companion is a version of a physically perfect wife who s duty is to bear sons and look after their husbands Concubines are for the man s sexual gratification and the eve will likely live with many other women Chastities seemed to be considered the leftovers not good enough for companions or concubines and they run the school and take care of the eves We see life through the eyes of an eve named frieda She is in her final year at the school to learn to be perfect and she is hoping to be ranked highly so that she may become a companion to the boys that will arrive eager to choose one of them for a bride For many years freida has been best friends with isabel and they are usually among the most highly rated girls in their year They are sure they will be chosen as companions and remain best friends as they raise their sons together However, when isabel starts to gain weight the WORST offence at this school , frieda is torn between supporting her and maintaining her distance She is terrified that she won t be chosen and will end up as a concubine or chastity But isabel is behaving very strangely and all is not as it may seem..The eves are cut off from the outside world and live in a school environment where they are trained on how to remain beautiful and learn how to make men happy But they are commonly told there is always room for improvement They are ranked on their attractiveness and constantly forced to strive for perfection Encouraged to compare themselves to their fellow eves to learn how they may improve The girls are discouraged from showing any emotions or anything that may make them less attractive Crying is prohibited as is showing any type of intelligence For example, when frieda was younger she was playing a game where the barbie doll mentioned math When frieda asked one of the chastities what math was the game was quickly taken away At times it was difficult to read especially when they were set in competitions against each other in a forced bullying way For example a girl would stand at the front and comments would be thrown at her Almost tame ones like your hair is looking dull perhaps you should try a stronger conditioner to horrid ones such as maybe you should ask the chasties for Ipecac and visit the vomitorium after your meals as you are looking fatter The author was incredibly thorough with details For example all female names were in lowercase to show their place in the society Then having subliminal messages saying things like I am beautiful but I can be better and I will always be respectful pumped through the speakers as the eves slept With similar issues to present times including eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia, peer pressure, bullying and self esteem issues The school setting is very similar to the current high school environment, but creepier and with perverse learning plans An extremely dark but gripping book that will stay with me for a very long time.Highly recommended What was the point of this book Only Ever Yours is basically a failed attempt to give Margaret Atwood s The Handmaid s Tale the YA treatment.The characters were all despicable, without exception, and if this was an attempt to be subversive or dark or honest, it didn t work.This novel is supposedly feminist, but I don t see how anyone can make that claim when a book is filled only with vapid, mean, petty, insecure girls and equally horrible women.I mean, I get it, the man gets you down We re like this because that s how we are conditioned I frikkin get it.But again, I ask you, what is the point How can you expect someone to stick with your character s shallow obsessions and infuriating insecurities for hundreds of pages, waiting and waiting for some epiphany, some growing up that NEVER COMES I know that novels don t have to be satisfying, or hopeful, or happy I ve read the best of em 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies and Handmaid s Tale as mentioned earlier.But guess what If you don t have the literary sophistication and nuance, and instead almost 400 pages of whiny YA narration and characters, you better damn tick some of those other YA boxes You know what those boxes are Spirit Hope Satisfaction Redemption Coming of Age Strong Female Lead Something Anything. There s a good book buried deep in Only Ever Yours, a debut novel by Irish author Louise O Neill published in 2014 Set in a Euro Zone where ecological catastrophe has reset human civilization into a patriarchy, where women are genetically engineered and socially conditioned to serve men upon graduation from an all girls finishing school at the age of 17, the book caters heavily to Young Adult readers Where its target demographic might find this relatable, eerie and thought provoking, I found it repetitive, unimaginative and dull I plowed through to see what O Neill s idea of a worst case scenario for humanity would look like, and was hugely disappointed.The novel is the first person account of frieda, a sixteen year old eve we re introduced to ten months before something called the Ceremony is to take place at School the novel s capitalization schemes are tiresome, with all the female characters names printed in lower case frieda is best friends with isabel, who has been ranked 1 in their class for 12 years on the basis of votes her foto garners by the men of the Euro Zone frieda was recently 3, but as their final year begins, she finds herself unable to sleep, increasingly addicted to the SleepSound medication doled out by the Chastities, the nun type instructors who run the school Her restlessness drops frieda s ranking to 5 while isabel has become so withdrawn she drops out of the top ten altogether The top ten are destined to be Companions, wives and male bearing mothers for the Inheritants, the top ten most eligible Euro Zone bachelors their age who will select their eves in a draft process during the Ceremony The other eves will become Concubines or Chastities frieda is unable to get through to isabel, who would normally be at risk of being sent to the Underground for disciplinary action due to her weight gain, but who seems to be under protection of the chastities To survive, frieda becomes friends with the new top eve, megan, a mean girl set to go 1 at the Ceremony at all costs When megan is annoyed, her already irritating fake Americas Zone accent takes on a nasal quality Unfortunately megan gets annoyed a lot Mainly at mealtimes I have a theory that she views her need for food as her only flaw I m sick of eggies They re disgusting Why isn t there any other lo carb option available she argues with the buffet, as if it could talk back liz and jessie are murmuring encouragement, ignoring the line of hungry girls behind them waiting to be served I m starving, a tiny girl in front of me whispers to her friend She s about four feet tall, waist length butterscotch hair tied neatly at the nape of her neck with a cerise ribbon, skinny elbows poking out of a cerise and navy striped polo dress I m sorry, did you say something megan spins around and places her hands on her knees, bending until she is eye level with the younger girl What s your name then There are ominous signs throughout the novel that things will not end well for the eves, even the ones chosen as Companions and even the girl who goes 1 in the Ceremony The top seeded Inheritant named Darwin later visits School and proves quite the dreamboat, the six pack racked son of the Euro Zone judge who also seems to be nice in a non rapist, non glutton way To megan s displeasure, Darwin becomes fixated on frieda, who gradually draws information out of her future husband, like the fact that homosexuals have been marked as enemies of the state frieda keeps her confidence with Darwin until megan manipulates her into betraying it, threatening her future Only Ever Yours has three major flaws, all of them critical 1 A novelist unable or unwilling to muster one description or one line of dialogue that forces me to stop reading and scribble it down has failed somewhere, in my opinion I read fiction to feel something I hadn t when I opened the book or think about things that hadn t occurred to me before I started reading I am just not the demographic for nice, effortless and non threatening stories that reinforce emotions or thoughts I already held O Neill s inability to provoke me as a reader, to contort her language or surprise with her dialogue, was evident throughout.2 The author doesn t know where to begin By setting the novel within the confines of School it settles into monotonous repetition Carbs, clothes and TV O Neill s conceptualization of the future can be summed up by the social media network the eves use MyFace are discussed ad nauseam Seating arrangements in the cafeteria become as integral as duels in an Alexandre Dumas novel This is all backstory mistaken as story A story would ve been an eve sold into a marriage in the Euro Zone, stripped of her support network and immersed in the world for the first time in her life, where she searches for clues to her existence It also would ve corrected the third flaw 3 Here we have another Young Adult novel in which the mission for the heroine is to get a boy frieda is shown to care for isabel very much and makes efforts to help her friend, but her primary goal is the personal validation that would come by manipulating the affections of Darwin She expresses no thoughts the boy doesn t approve of, no opinions the boy can t give her and no self worth she discovers on her own as a young woman According to this novel, females need the protection of the cutest, most powerful male, and even though O Neill ultimately hints that the reverse actually might ve been true, the behavior championed here is co dependent and sick.This novel was a gift from a friend who is a bookseller in Cork, Ireland She not only resent me a copy when the first was lost in international mail, but gifted a copy to me signed by the author, which I value as a rare book regardless of how I felt about the material This is a beautiful looking book printed and bound in Great Britain, with beguiling cover design by Nicola Theobald I intend to make it a permanent addition to my library and plan on sending my copy of East of Eden purchased at the Steinbeck Institute to Cork That is the only similarity the novels have in common, this being Young Adult fare that neither challenged or satisfied me in any way. Apotheosis of neurosis wrapped up in dystopia narrowed down to a bitches school An extremely unusual take on popular topic demostrated in a set of a very persuasive world building The particularly unhappy end felt like an improvement on the messed up world of this dystopian future.There s lots of insight on bulimic anorexic behaviour, drugs controversies, bullying, betrayal, self image isses, digital nonsensicalities do update your status online so world would know you re still alive , one s control of oneself good girls dont cry or experience any Unacceptable Emotions and room for improvement and the last one is not meant in a cheerfully chirping positive way, once you read the book, you ll know What is most dusturbing about this book is that lots of things from it one could hear, feel or even say in real life Makes one think the world is bent on self destruction, one way or another And the end might even be welcome, after all.Q I am ready now too.I am ready to feel nothing, forever c Unpopular Opinion Alert.This book is very difficult to rate and review It is not an enjoyable read in some ways I intensely disliked it But, at the same time that I was reading it and hating it, I was flicking screens as quickly as possible to get to the next page Where I run into trouble with this review is in that I must decide if I am going to treat it as a potentially important and serious treatment of misogyny and the oppression of women, through the medium of speculative fiction Or, on the other hand, I can treat it as a piece of meaningless genre fiction.Many of the reviews do discuss the importance of the book, and its relevance to contemporary culture So, I m going to take this book seriously, which means that I am going to raise my expectations above just was it a page turner, and ask questions likedoes this make senseandwhat does this book say that is new or different from other dystopiansandam I convinced There are obvious comparisons to be made to Margaret Atwood s A Handmaid s Tale It also owes a great deal to the current infatuation arguably over infatuation that publishers have with YA dystopians in which misogyny is the central focus of the world building I ve said before that I m tired of this type of dystopian, and I stand by that statement This book is the ultimate example of that type of book there is no world building outside of the misogynistic premise.This book is set entirely in the School where frieda and the girl s names are always lowercase, a signifier of their lack of status and or agency lives in preparation for The Ceremony, which is where she will be told which third she is to be in companion wife of one of the eligible males , concubine sex toy for any of the eligible males or chastity one of the women who remains in the school to teach the younger students Girls have no mothers nor fathers only male babies are born on this in a moment , eves the females are produced in a laboratory with various combinations of skin color, eye color and hair color, designed for ultimate sexual appeal There is an intense sense of claustrophobia reading this book we never leave the school and all information about the outside world is filtered through either the chastities who are almost universally cruel and unpleasant or the young men who arrive in the second half of the book to choose their companions and their concubines The girls are entirely uneducated, they cannot read and do not even know what math is They spend time on MyFace, obsessively checking their community rankings, which are based on their weight and superficial prettiness Their lives are completely regimented They lack all agency and have one personality between all of them viciously competitive.So, here is the first area I ran into troubledoes this make sense No, it doesn t Not even a little And, yeah, I know, it s fiction, right But if we re going to treat a piece of speculative fiction seriously as a cautionary tale, then the tale should be cautionary It should be plausible This book is completely implausible The world building itself is pretty much completely incomprehensible On the one hand, this choice could be defended because the narrative frame frieda is so sheltered from all contact with the outside world that she has no idea how the world outside of the school works in fact, it is unclear if she has ever even been outside the walls of the building On the other hand, however, it is hard to wrap my mind around this world as something that could exist under the right circumstances when it is so incomprehensible We are told some very limited facts about climate change and population die off as a result of the loss of massive amounts of land mass due to rising seas There s something in there about all of the female babies dying, although there s no explanation of how or why this happened, which necessitates producing girls in a laboratory as commodities So, why is this implausible Oh, dear, let me count the ways 1 There is sufficient technology to produce girls to physical specification, but no one can figure out how to fix the reproduction problem so that girls can be born naturally 2 There is also, by definition, sufficient technology to perfect boys by producing them to physical specification, but no one bothers to engage in any of this genetic engineering to benefit our male characters, many of whom are, to put it quite kindly, not exactly appealing specimens of brains or brawn.In addition, there are different zones, which seem to correspond generally to geographic areas like Europe and the U.S And, finally, the number of eligible males in frieda s year is disconcertingly low 10 and the number of girls created for their cohort is always 3x the number of possible mates, so there are a total of 30.This was the hardest part of the book for me I get it that using a larger number would make the story unwieldy But it is impossible for me to wrap my mind around the idea that the number of eligible males in a geographic area for a single year would be 10 That is such a small number that, when combined with the technology available to the eves, I just can t make it work Why is this implausible there is technology that would require many workers to maintain, yet we are supposed to believe that this community that is so small that it only has ten young men and thirty young women reaching adulthood per year is able to mass produce food in laboratories, do genetic research, run complicated utilities that keep the lights on and the internet functional, produce television shows, and all of the other accoutrements and trappings of modernity So, how is this supposed to work This zone would have a high school class of 40 people 75% of whom are girls and who are therefore glorified sex dolls Think about this 75% of the potential talent pool serves no purpose other than recreational and reproductive sexual intercourse Um No That is ridiculous This is so tiny that it wouldn t even have a grocery store Yet there is a judge and a cobbler A cobbler And there are two concubines and one wife for every guy Seriously Who is keeping the lights on here Do any of the men stop having sex long enough to get any work done So, does this book break new ground One way to look at it would be to look at it as a parable of what the world might look like if one half of humanity loses humanity altogether And it is an ugly world not simply because of the way the eves are treated, which is horrifying in its own right, but because of the commodification of children and marriage It is a loveless, joyless place where only sexualized attractiveness exists There are inexplicably no animals in this world There is no nurturing, no sense of the value of humanity that comes from valuing humanness as an end, not just as a means to reproduction and sexual gratification It is extreme Even the males, who are ostensibly pampered, have agency than the girls, but they, themselves are trapped in the profession social rank of their father, and their mothers are terminated at age 40 There can be little if any affection for any of the children being raised in this world This doesn t break new ground It ignores human psychology and everything that makes a human being a human being It s interesting that, unlike The Handmaid s Tale, O Neill s world doesn t have religious underpinnings There are no religious beliefs at all, no sense of mystery or wonder No art, no imagination, no beauty The regimentation is to no purpose And this is where O Neill lost me In making her world so extreme, so endlessly dreary and superficial, I just can t believe that such a world could actually exist It is so empty, so clinical, so bereft of all of the things that human beings crave warmth, connection, love, story, nature, affectionate touch that the only possible response to such a world would be mass suicide and not just by the girls The entire community is basically a violent and neglectful orphanage, and every person raised in this world would have reactive attachment disorder Such a world could not thrive, much less survive.In the alternative, don t take it seriously as trying to say something important or true In which case, you might like it fine. initial reaction what the fuck what the fuck what the fuckReview I ve never felt so physically sick while reading a book This is a dark, hopeless story, that will make your insides churn and frighten you with its similarities exaggerated, but present nonetheless to our current society You need courage to pick this up and a lot of resolve to keep going once the story gets started.We re presented with a dystopian futuristic society, in which women are no longer born, but created scientifically engineered , with the sole purpose of pleasing the men whether by becoming wives called companions and bearing children, or becoming concubines, to satisfy their sexual urges the ones who don t fit either of these roles become chastities and are tasked with teaching the next generation of eves, as these girls are called Their lives revolve around being physically perfect, flawless They attend a School, where they are trained, so that one day they can join the ranks of society and serve the men They re illiterate, because being academically versed is unappealing to men They need to maintain a target weight, because otherwise they re unappealing and fat girls are obsolete And there s always room for Improvement I can t stress it enough how difficult it was to read this book I was repulsed from the very first page, but I kept going, because books like these are important Especially because they show us how bad it can get It s not meant to be a book that you can love or even like, it s meant as a book that can teach you something It s a wonderfully crafted story aimed at pointing out the flaws in our society, the strength of the patriarchy, the immense pressure that all women face to be skinny, to be perfect, to please We re seen as sexual objects, as people who shouldn t think, who are less than men, who should know their place and not question it It s an exaggerated mirror of our society the underlying issues that plague us today are blown out of proportion as a warning that if we don t change something, this is where we might end up.The characters aren t meant to be likable They re selfish, shallow, cruel, always competing with each other, to see who is the skinniest, the prettiest, the most popular, offering compliments to each other one moment, then stabbing each other in the back in the next one and it s a competition that the school actually encourages, by ranking the girls from the most to the least appealing and having classes like Comparative Studies, where, every week, two girls are presented to the others, to be examined and have their flaws pointed out anonymously, of course, so there are no hard feelings And I think we re not meant to find them appealing, because they re not real women They lack personality, empathy, feelings, because that s how they were designed, with a single purpose in mind to be physically appealing You re not supposed to root for any of them, because of the society that created them I loved the writing It s engrossing and absorbing and, despite the heavy subject nature, makes you want to keep reading I was compelled to keep at it, because I just couldn t look away It s quite fast paced and it never felt dull But it s not for everyone The thing is that sometimes, we need to read uncomfortable things, that actually scream in our faces that something is not okay And this is one of those books It s a frightening wake up call Trigger warnings for eating disorders, sexual abuse, body image, drug addiction, bullying Favourite quotes I want to hide, fold into the shadows and become invisible so no one can look at me any We are who we are Sometimes, no matter how much someone might want to, they can t escape that To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything I purchased Only Ever Yours after it won the YA Book Prize It was one of the few books on the shortlist that I didn t already own or hadn t read, but it was one everyone was talking about.Louise O Neill describes Only Ever Yours as The Handmaid s Tale meets Mean Girls It is startlingly, painfully real I ve read a lot of young adult dystopian fiction and I ve been reluctant to think of Only Ever Yours as dystopian it s speculative Even though our society doesn t mirror freida and isabel s exactly, if you break it down and deconstruct every judgement, expectation and attitude that the girl s are subject to, we re almost already there.freida and isabel are two of many girls waiting to see whether they will be selected to be wives to wealthy, powerful men and go on to bear his sons They have grown up in a school that teaches girls how to be pretty and, in the near future, will progress into one of three career paths companions, concubines or chastities They don t get to choose which Popularity comes with being the most beautiful and the girls are ranked based on how they look and how thin they are Eating disorders are encouraged and the girls are given opportunities to judge each other constantly In one particularly dark scene, a girl stands naked in front of the class while improvements from her fellow students are thrown at her Every time you think Only Ever Yours couldn t possibly get any bleak, it does.Only Ever Yours is a dazzling, well crafted feminist satire It all unfolds when isabel can no longer live up to what society wants her to be and we watch as frieda struggles to deal with what she thinks she ought to do and what she feels is right It ll make you angry, shocked and outraged and you ll want to tell everyone Asking for It is Louise O Neill s upcoming book, about eighteen year old Emma O Donovan, who is raped at a friend s party It is a much needed novel and will likely be even difficult to read than Only Ever Yours I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books. I have a lot of feelings about this book Just so many Here s the general theme of them though Read This Book Seriously, I am not saying that because it was fun and enjoyable, because it simply is not It is hell on paper Exquisitely written, horrifyingly realistic hell on paper Basically, I am just going to list why I absolutely implore you to read this book, okay Great This book is way, way too close to how our society actually thinks feels frieda is terrified of gaining an ounce She is terrified of her hair being out of place Her whole life literally revolves around pleasing other people and appearing perfect There were too many moments while reading this book that I had to put it down because I was shaking, eyes brimming with tears, realizing that I have absolutely, 100% said some of the exact same things frieda said to herself to myself If you are female, you need to read this book Now, I know there is many a confident woman out there, and if you are among them, I both applaud and admire you But far too many of us critique and criticize ourselves, each other, or both Too many of us worry about how we appear to others, both physically and emotionally Without a doubt, this book will make you take a good, hard look at how you treat yourself and others, even if it is not consciously If you are not a female, you need to read this book Of course not all women think like frieda Nor do all men want a stereotypically perfect woman Here s the thing society still treats women differently than men, and I don t think anyone would argue that Women have made amazing strides, but there is so, so much improvement needed Whether you have female friends, a significant other who is female, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, this is a gritty look into the biases women face on the regular The writing is breathtaking Take everything else out of the equation The writing in itself is phenomenal Each sentence has meaning, each word both poignant and necessary Louise O Neill is just so completely masterful at getting her point across in the most beautiful of ways, I would and will read any book she writes And there are no typos, the names are like that for a reason, one you ll likely understand The plot is amazing Yes, after all the other stuff that makes this a fantastic book, the plot just went ahead and was just as great I stayed up until 5 30am to finish this book because I positively needed to know what happened Then sat around for another 45 minutes in shock and awe and tears The characters will make you feel things Vague, no Well, different characters, different things at different times Oh, still vague Yes, yes But they are so, so multi dimensional They have flaws, my goodness they have flaws And isabel is such a huge mystery, both for frieda and the reader megan will make you want to throw your book many times, but then so will everyone else, just not all the time There is a touch of romance too, but that comes into play a bit later Intrigued You should be This is probably the most gripping, gut wrenching book I have ever read I didn t like this book, I don t know that it is possible to like this book But I was captivated by it It is honest and brutal and so damn necessary.This review was originally posted on It Starts at Midnight

Louise O Neill is from Clonakilty, in west Cork After graduating with a BA in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin, she went on to complete a post grad in Fashion Buying at DIT Having spent a year in New York working for Kate Lanphear, the senior Style Director of ELLE magazine, she returned home to Ireland to write her first novel.She went from hanging out on set with A list celebrities

[Reading] ➳ Only Ever Yours ➻ Louise O'Neill –
  • Kindle Edition
  • 398 pages
  • Only Ever Yours
  • Louise O'Neill
  • English
  • 09 September 2019

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