Tuesday, April 25, 2017
REVIEW: ONLY EVER YOURS BY LOUISE O'NEILL
Particularly upsetting in Donald Trump's America, I feel he would love implementing parts of this story in our country. It's terrifying in it's implications, and feels eerily plausible. If you found Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale bothersome, this is the Young Adult version. O'Neill somehow manages a similar premise while making a wholly redesigned world. That is no small feat, as Atwood's book is iconic, and the temptation would be strong to cherrypick details here and there. That was most impressive. While I wouldn't want to visit any dystopia, this wins the worst....think I'd even take my chances in The Hunger Games....at least there's a small chance of viable life.
I was more sickened by this novel than Atwood's. The male chauvinism is a given, but the depths which the females undercut and manipulate each other, instead of banding together in any form of solidarity, was heartbreaking. While teenage gossip and bullying is common in our real world, the relentlessness in this story was draining, and acutely made me feel the broken spirit of these "designed" girls. All of O'Neill's cover designs for this book are perfect.
The gruesome tone was particularly set by the ominous countdown to the "Ceremony" where each Eve is assigned their lifetime role as one of three, all-terrible options. References to Organized Recreation, their sleeping arrangements, Expiration date, and drug use added richness to an already horrifying world. I was able to see where the ending was headed, and was proud of O'Neill for sticking to the tone of the story instead of adding a bubble gum ending.