I’ve had my share of dystopian stories, and I certainly had my share of everything looking, feeling, being the same. Well, in that endless field of clones, I found the one that stands out. I found the one that will make you grip pages in anticipation, fear for yourself, for the world, for the future. Because it feels utterly REAL.
A TERRYFING WORLD
“’Because it’s my body,’ she cuts in. ‘Isn’t it?”
Only Ever Yours throws us with no warning into a world where women are created. They aren’t born naturally anymore. They are taking classes, growing up in a bubble, then sent off to the world. To their MEN. They are only here, born, raised, to please men. The whole idea is plain OUTRAGEOUS, and reading about it made me so, so mad. I just couldn’t believe what I was reading, and the more I went on, the more surprised and WHAT-AM-I-READING feeling got to me. Those girls are fed medication all the time, they should LOOK and BE perfect. This means, they aren’t allowed to get angry, or cry, because they will look UGLY. They can’t eat too much because BEING FAT IS DISGUSTING. That book just made out a society full of flaws that you’re supposed to scream about because it is OUTRAGEOUS, I’m sorry, I can’t find another word. I had a hard time getting into the book because of the simple basics of this story. This, all of this, seemed SO insane that I just kept my eyes wide-open like a crazy person all the time, wondering just what the hell I was reading. Really, it made me feel unease, at times, because it’s quite extreme, yet it felt so real.
BE PERFECT, OR ELSE
“Comparing yourself to your sisters is a useful way of identifying these flaws, but you must then take the necessary steps to improve yourself. There is always room for Improvement.”
In a place where everyone really is conditioned at being perfect, I can get that we can’t go further than all of the mind-numbing thing that is this system. In Freida’s mind, the main character, there’s just place for that. Being perfect. Being at target-weight, being the best-dressed, being chosen by the right guy, just, doing things right. No, not right, doing things perfectly. Freida constantly compares herself to others, because in this world, life is a popularity and beauty contest all the time. She struggles, a lot, her mental health is hanging by a threat because of all of that. There are some moments where her feelings feel terrifying real, because as a girl, I can honestly said I have compared myself to others, wondered about my appearance, and stuff like that. And there are moments where it’s just too intense, and I just didn’t get her. Her mind is a mess, as is her life, this system, and the book. A clear mess that comes into your head and makes you damn crazy. The girls in this book are constantly comparing to each other, and it doesn’t help that there are a lot of secondary characters, making it at times, hard to keep up with who’s who. Thankfully, this doesn’t make this story less powerful.
I’m not going to say anything about the ending, or more about the story, because it’s really something you should read yourself. Do it. In the dystopian market, that book is probably one of the most powerful piece of work you need to read, and give to everyone. Because it’s an eye-opener, it’s like trying to swallow medication you need, but don’t want to, something bitter stuck in your throat, in your mind, in your heart. It feels so terrifying, yet it’s highly addicting. I wish I could say it doesn’t feel real, but it does.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read Only Ever Yours? Were you slightly creeped out and terrified by it? Do you want to read it?
Do you think dystopian books are necessary sometimes, to show us the flaws in our world? What’s the last book that made you completely FREAK? Share your thoughts in comments!
Louise O’Neill, Only Ever Yours, Published by Quercus, July 3rd 2014.
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. . .