This book is like a massive middle finger to gender inequality and the objectification of women in contemporary society. It is extremely harrowing and it literally gave me nightmares, but I think it’s so important for young women to read it.
What it’s about: I think the author herself best described this book as a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Mean Girls. Set in a truly horrific dystopian society, where females are raised in ‘schools’ designed to prepare girls to be basically subservient wives or concubines (or the most horrible of all – Chastities – which are basically the teachers of the next generation). being pretty is of the utmost importance and slogans like ‘fat girls must be made obsolete’ following them everywhere.
What I thought: This book is incredibly difficult to read, but I believe it’s incredibly important that people do read this book. It is extremely reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale, but I feel it’s a bit more relevant to modern society and the pressures young girls are put under today.
I absolutely loved this book’s complete lack of subtlety and the way it slapped you in the face with its message. From the use of names like miranda, alessandra, cara, and giselle (note the lower case letters) for the women to the use of names like Darwin, Aristotle, and Abraham for males, Louise O’Neill really doesn’t skirt around the point she’s trying to make. It’s incredibly bold and I love it.
I would recommend this book to anyone, but do be aware of the fact that it has some very strong themes (eating disorders, bullying, the whole women as slaves thing), and like I said, it did literally give me nightmares. But I often find that the most important books are those that horrify you, and this one definitely is horrifying because it is so reminiscent of objectification of women that is so rife in society. I will be reading everything Louise O’Neill writes.
I rate it 5/5 stars
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