Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
frieda and isabel have been best friends their whole lives.
Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative – life as a concubine – is too horrible to contemplate.
But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty – her only asset – in peril.
And then, the boy arrive, eager to choose a bride.
frieda must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…
Wow – I don’t know where to start with writing my review on this… I found this a heavy book to read and finish, it took me longer than normal as I needed breaks in between to let the story sink in. It is a Dystopian, but most of it fits in the society we have right now when it comes to ‘beauty’.
The girls are bred to serve men in three different purposes, to be either a Companion, a Concubine or a Chastity. From the age of 4 they are put in a school, although sounds more like a prison, and they are being bred and have to follow rules to get them ready for their ceremony day when they turn 17. There are daily fights and struggles with food, calories, beauty and of course weight. They rank each other and always picks out each other flaws on a day to day basis and there are even special classes for it.
They don’t see any boys till a couple of months before their ceremony – these boys will choose an eve (the girls) for their liking and those women who are companions will bear as many sons as their womb can take them and then they get cast away when they are 40. When the boys are here you will have the weird ranking but then also done by the boys and you will have the ‘Heavenly Seventy’ where the girl is put in a closet with a boy who has chosen her.
It took me a little while to get into the story, because I wasn’t prepared for the shock of how it started. The situation for the girls starts of bad and gradually gets worse. And when you think it can’t get worse…. it will!
I loved reading about Isabel and Freida – note that all women names are written in lower case and not in capital because they don’t mean anything in life – they are worthless.
Such a shockingly honest book – one that will stay with me for a long time. I can definitely recommend this book to people, but there is a lot of worrying stuff in it about weight, food and vomiting…
Definitely go read this book and I can’t wait for Louise O’Neill’s next book which is coming out in September called: ‘Asking for it’. Another quite controversial read I think.