Firstly, Happy Book Birthday Louise O'Neill, Only Ever Yours is released today and I can honestly say it is one of my favourites of 2014 so far. It's one of those books everyone should read, it's brutally honest and will have you thinking for a while, as it did with me. You can find my review of it here. Thanks to Quercus I also got a chance to do a Q&A with Louise herself, so on with the
In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.
For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.
Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.
But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..
And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known…
That’s interesting, that’s the second time someone has asked me this question this week. I didn’t consciously decide that religion would be a factor in the way women are perceived in Only Ever Yours, I felt that the world in which the novel is set was much more likely to have been created because our patriarchal society posits that men are far more inherently valuable than women. However, I was raised a Catholic, and attended a convent primary and secondary school. I was extremely devout when I was a child, and I guess it was only with hindsight that I began to think there was something rather strange about being indoctrinated in a religion that presents the ‘ideal woman’ as a mother who has never had sex.