An Open Letter to Louise O’Neill

Dear Louise,

I’d like to start by telling you how much I enjoy the stuff you write. I was absolutely addicted to Only Ever Yours, it was horrific but I was so happy it existed. I got my mam to recommend it to her book club. (You’re welcome.) Your blog/articles are also rather great.

But, I have a small problem. As you’re surely aware, your new book Asking For It was available in Ireland by September 3rd. I’m afraid I have to ask: how could you launch your much-awaited widely-reviewed young adult book the same week school starts?

That just seems like it’d cause unnecessary pain to everyone.

Let me explain a little. When reading Only Ever Yours, my week went something like this:

Monday: Hm, the first two chapters of this book are intriguing…

Tuesday: I think I’ll read during my increasingly prolonged homework breaks.

Wednesday: Might as well bring it to read on the bus.

Thursday: Might as well give up all attempts to do schoolwork – if I try I’ll just be thinking about the book, anyway. Sooner I finish it the better.

Friday: I have all weekend to do my homework/be a functioning human, right?

But now, unfortunately, I can’t afford to do that. There can be no abandoning of schoolwork because my current week involves a history test this morning, a biology test this afternoon, an English essay due next Tuesday and a whole load of home ec writeups due the Friday after that.

Oh, yeah, and some scary exams to sit in June. Nearly forgot those.

Technically I don’t even have time to be writing this blog post.

The response to this book has been very active in the past couple of weeks, even before its release. It tells the story of a rape in small-town Ireland, loosely based on the Steubenville case in America, and is said to be a vast and detailed look at rape culture (which I’m hoping means it has as many sly and stunning real-life references as Only Ever Yours.) I’m well aware it will be absolutely horrible reading, but I want to be a part of the conversation happening right now. Awareness is growing and this issue is being talked about in a way I’ve never seen before. It would be nice to read the reviews without having to skim over potential spoilers.

Besides which, I want to read it. I want the shock and the fear-of-leaving-my-house and the broken soul that I know will go with it. I want to switch everything else off and read for two days straight.

And I won’t get to do that until midterm.

Now, like I said, I really like the things you write. I truly appreciate/respect your kickass feminism. But I would appreciate if, next time you release a book, you consider the timing.

Congratulations, though, seriously. Some well deserved publicity, and I’m excited to read it.

Best wishes,

Carol 🙂

See Louise O’Neill’s website/blog here.