Imatge de l'autor

Louise O'Neill

Autor/a de Only Ever Yours

17 obres 1,305 Membres 75 Ressenyes

Sobre l'autor

Louise O' Neill was born in West Cork in 1985. She studied English at Trinity College Dublin and has worked for the senior style director of American Elle magazine. She is currently working as a freelance journalist for a variety of Irish national newspapers and magazines. Her debut novel Only Ever mostra'n més Yours won the inaugural YA Book Prize. He second novel is entitled Asking for It. (Bowker Author Biography) mostra'n menys

Inclou el nom: O'Neill Louise

Obres de Louise O'Neill

Only Ever Yours (2014) 436 exemplars
Asking For It (2015) 419 exemplars
Almost Love (2018) 62 exemplars
Idol (2022) 58 exemplars
After the Silence (2020) 56 exemplars
The Natural Health Directory (2000) 5 exemplars
Almost Love 1 exemplars
Il silenzio dell'acqua (2019) 1 exemplars
Asking For It 1 exemplars
Une fille facile (2018) 1 exemplars
Solo per sempre tua 1 exemplars
Te la sei cercata 1 exemplars
Hun ba om det (2018) 1 exemplars

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Idol by Louise O'Neill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I’ve had a run of average 3 star reads lately that lacked anything to truly grip me. Idol finally broke that streak, I blew through it in a few days! It had me up too late and I finished it off on a Saturday morning which is a sure sign of a good book!

I read Asking For It by Louise O’Neill many years ago (in my School Librarian days) and still think about it. It took inspiration from the real life Steubenville rape case but set the story in Ireland, and told from the perspective of the victim who struggles to label what happened to her as rape, and internalises the shame and blame. It is heart-breaking. That was one of the most emotionally difficult books I’ve ever read, and it really felt like reading about a real life experience.

Idol isn’t quite as harrowing, although it does very much touch on issues of consent and rape it is less graphic, and instead focuses the story from the point of view of the accused. Sam is a successful “wellness” influencer/grifter who, after being accused of rape by her childhood best friend, must scramble to save her career in the age of trial by social media. She is an immediately unsympathetic character and the story peels back her many layers (and issues) until we get to the (unsurprising truth) at the centre of the story.

Sam is an unreliable point of view, and you know I love an unreliable narrator! Although I will say that the truth behind the mystery won’t come as a surprise, it was fun to get to read between the lines and try to see Sam from the outside. She is both a victim and a villain; she is at times vulnerable but also a ruthless manipulator. I loved that messy complexity.

The story really plays with memory and how it can be manipulated and become unreliable. Sam’s version of events is often at odds with others, and she has a tendency towards rewriting history as fuel for gaslighting those around her. It’s interesting to me because I’ve also just finished Animal Farm and am currently listening to the audiobook of 1984, both of course by George Orwell. Both stories have governments that control their subjects through quite literally rewriting history as it suited their changing agendas. Sam uses a remarkably similar tactic to control her friends, family, followers and even herself.

I found the writing gripping, and I enjoyed the complexity of Sam and the many uncomfortable layers of the situation made it feel realistic. I am not giving it five stars because I did in the end feel that it suffered a little from the lack of clear characterisation for Lisa, and also Josh. They are the focus of Sam’s obsessions yet they exist in the novel as rather fuzzy sketches. On the one hand I can see this is symptom of Sam’s point of view but on the other I think it made for a slightly less satisfying rounded-out story.

If you are can handle the subject matter of rape and coercive control then I recommend Idol, and also Asking For It but that one does come with extreme trigger warnings! Louise O’Neill is very talented at tackling these difficult subjects in such a nuance way way that it feels uncomfortably real. I should check out other other novels at some point.



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… (més)
 
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ImagineAlice | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Jan 7, 2024 |
CW: this book contains mentions of domestic abuse, violence and death.

After the Silence really surprised me. I went in expecting a murder mystery/thriller and was surprised to find that this was actually a rather minor element. Instead, this book focuses a lot more on interpersonal relations and, in particular, domestic abuse in all its forms.

In a sense, this book is a character study much more than a thriller, as Keelin and her controlling husband Henry take centre stage and their relationship is laid bare before our eyes. The characters are beautifully fleshed out, as their connections are slowly revealed and untangled. Keelin is a particularly fascinating and complex character. Throughout most of the book, I simultaneously sympathised with her and found her very irritating: that's how you know this was a character done right!

I loved how the author managed to peel off all the layers of appearance which cause Keelin to be resented and shunned by her fellow islanders: as the rumours go, her loyalties now lie with her "blow-in" husband who is clearly guilty of murdering young, beautiful Nessa Crowley, because he can give her money, clothes and a big house. Instead, we get to see underneath all that to the true nature of their relationship and all the nuance that is there. It would have been really easy to paint the usual, stereotypical victim of domestic abuse with no agency, but the author managed to show exactly how complex these situations and dynamics can be, and just how strong Keelin is despite (or maybe because of) everything she endured.

The island setting also worked perfectly. The island becomes at times almost a character in itself, as it heavily influences both the events and the characters themselves. I could almost see the setting it was so beautifully described, and at times I felt the deep limitations of life on this tiny island, almost to the point of it causing some sort of claustrophobia.

The use of the Irish language throughout is the only thing that left me a bit uncertain. While I loved seeing it and I appreciate the effort to remain authentic to life in the region where the book is set, the use of Irish words and expressions seemed a bit uneven throughout the book. Initially, every little word is explained as requested by the documentary makers, but as the story progresses there are whole sentences that are just not translated or explained at all. There also seemed to be no clear reason for why a certain character would use an Irish word at any given moment, which contributed to the feeling that they were slightly randomly chosen. Nevertheless, this didn't take much away from the pleasure of reading the book for me, aside from the odd googling.

The structure also took a bit of adjusting, as the book alternates present and past events, interspersed with extracts from the interviews which would be included in the documentary on the case. I needed a bit of time to fully get into the swing of this, but once I did, I was completely absorbed in the story and couldn't put the book down. I particularly liked the introduction of the documentary interviews, which contributed to give this more of a true crime feel. Coincidentally, I finished this soon before Sophie: A Murder in West Cork was released on Netflix, so that it was almost impossible for me not to link the two in my mind.

As for the murder itself, that was probably the most underwhelming aspect of the whole book. Nessa Crowley was quite poorly characterised, coming across as a very stereotypical "other woman" so that, despite everything, it was very hard to care deeply about her tragic fate. The reveal was also not all that surprising, given how few the suspects actually were. This disappointment might be down to the fact that I was expecting more of a "whodunnit" and an active investigation by the documentary makers and this is definitely not this book.

After the Silence was still a very interesting and gripping read, even though it was not at all what I was expecting it to be. Best suited to those looking for a book focusing more on complex characters than a thriller, though it does contain some heavy content (mostly around domestic abuse), so maybe give it a miss if that might be triggering for you.

For more reviews, visit Book for Thought.

I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
… (més)
 
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bookforthought | Hi ha 2 ressenyes més | Nov 7, 2023 |
Actual rating: 3.5/5

Having read and enjoyed the author's previous book, After the Silence, last year, I was really interested in reading Idol, especially as conversations surrounding the role of influencers in society and so-called "cancel culture" seem highly timely.

Idol is, in some ways, an ambitious novel: tackling lots of themes such as social media culture, the idolisation of health gurus and other influencers, consent and public image in a post-#MeToo world, cancel culture, friendship, memory and recollections and more still, it really felt as though I needed some time to digest it before I could share my thoughts on this.

Sam is a complex character, projecting a public persona while feeling completely differently inside, her self-centredness concealing profound fragility and loneliness. I found it very hard to sympathise with her, but at the same time could really appreciate the nuance in her character which I really value when reading about an unlikeable and unreliable character. It felt a bit as if this subtlety was somewhat lost as the story progressed though, with Sam becoming more and more extreme nearing the end which, even though I still liked reading about her, made her much more black-and-white than morally grey.

The author's writing here is brilliant, as always. I was completely captured by the story being told and, even though at times I was annoyed with the characters or felt like the plot was stagnating a bit, the way the book was written kept me turning the pages, eager to know more. The underlying critique of modern society, and social media/influencer culture especially, was very on point, sparking a lot of additional questions, thoughts and reflections for me.

There were a few things that didn't quite work for me though. While I appreciated the critique, at times it felt like there was almost too much going on with a multitude of themes being raised at the same time without having the time or the space to delve deep into any single one. I can see how they were all linked together, but I couldn't help but feel that this resulted in a superficial overview, ticking off a multitude of themes, but lacking deeper substance.

The story is pretty much centred around Sam herself and, even though I can see how this would fit with her selfishness and self-centredness, it was disappointing to see all the other characters coming across as rather flat. Lisa, Sam's childhood friend, in particular mostly lacked substance, becoming almost instantly forgettable. The ending was also rather underwhelming, and I was especially unimpressed by the final scene.

Overall, Idol was a pleasant and gripping read though, even though I was probably expecting more from it than it could deliver. With its twisty nature and engrossing style, it would make a great beach read!

CW: this book contains mentions of sexual assault, eating disorders, addiction and toxic relationships.


I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
… (més)
 
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bookforthought | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Nov 7, 2023 |
Holy shit, this may be the most honest book I've ever read. I cannot adequately convey the unputdownable nature of this book along with the feeling that I got punched in the stomach. Everyone should read this book. Every single one.
 
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Michelle_PPDB | Hi ha 25 ressenyes més | Mar 18, 2023 |

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Obres
17
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1,305
Popularitat
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½ 3.6
Ressenyes
75
ISBN
78
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