BOOK REVIEW: Only Ever Yours

Beauty and perfection is something that modern women strive for these days. In ‘Only Ever Yours’ however it is a way of life as girls are taught that not only is perfection everything, but that there is always room for improvement.

AUTHOR: Louise O’Neill
400 pages

Freida and Isabel have been best friends their whole lives. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to wealthy and powerful men.

The alternative – life as a concubine – is too horrible to contemplate.

But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty – her only asset – in peril.

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…

Only Ever Yours is set in a dystopian future where the over use of fertility drugs to conceive boys has resulted in girls no longer being born. Females are second class citizens and are now not only artificially made, but made to be beautiful with no imperfections. Girls attend the School, where they strive to be better as ‘There is always room for improvement’. Their one goal is to be the best so they can be selected as companions – wives to powerful men and to bare them lots of sons. However if the worst happens and they fail at that, then they will instead be chosen to be a concubine to many men instead.

The novel follows Freida who is in her final year and working hard to be chosen. All seems to be going ok until the boys arrive to choose their companions, the pressure of being beautiful and picked slowly causes Freida to unravel and threatens her entire future.

This book taps into the beauty conscious photoshopped world in which we live today. The girls are constantly trying to better themselves, they are belittled if they fall anywhere less than perfect. The premise of only the perfect being able to be wives and the less so to be concubines also put me in mind of the brilliant ‘The Handmaids Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. Whilst the story of the book may come across as sexist, this is satire at its best.

Freida is initially an annoying person, only ever worried about her beauty and being popular, but as her world starts to fall apart around her I really found myself feeling sorry for her, and hoping for a happy future. I obviously won’t say if that happens, but O’Neill keeps you drawn in right until the very last sentence.

A brilliant if depressing novel that makes you take a good look at the society which we live in today. Read it now!

Rating: 4.5/5
Blogger: darkphoenix1701


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