‘Only Ever Yours’ – Louise O’Neill


This was recommended by a colleague, and I am so glad she thought to pass it on.

The social structure of O’Neill’s novel is a witty satire on contemporary society. ‘Eves’ – as the girls are known – have one main function in life: to do whatever it takes to follow ‘The Rules’ and secure themselves a partner for life so they can procreate and bear children. If this fails, they become concubines. The worst thing that will happen is the failed ‘Eves’ return to The School as teachers to the next generation.

As I read this, my heart was in my mouth. The idea that we could live in a society where women are only valued for their looks and ability to keep men happy was horrifying…oh, hang on, could I have just missed the point?

The obvious parallels between so many of the ideas/views given to teenagers now made me want to scream as I was reading this. I found myself shaking my head at regular intervals as I read. Not least because I know of so many teenagers I teach who would not see any harm in the views expressed during the majority of the novel.

My only criticism of this stems from the relationship between Frieda – our narrator – and her friend, Isobel. The relationship between these two characters never really seemed to ring true, and I wasn’t given enough of an insight into the character of Isobel to feel as I think I was meant to at the end of the novel.

It is clear that this novel has hit a nerve, and it is certainly a novel I would recommend.