The Captain’s Log – only ever yours (Louise O’ Neill)

**** trigger warning – blood, bullying, drug use, eating disorders, fatphobia, homophobia, self-harm, suicide, violence, vomit ****

Ahoy there me mateys.  I have been wanting to read this book for a long time.  I was reminded of it by a Top Three Thursday post by Sammi @ onebookishgirl.  A copy was in the hold of a local library and so I commandeered it.  This certainly be an interesting read.

I don’t normally include trigger warnings in me posts but this book was intense in its imagery and self-loathing.  The book is targeted as a young adult dystopia.  The story centers around a school for girls that is training them for a world of pleasing men.  That is their purpose.  These girls are literally manufactured for this.

At the end of their schooling session when they turn 17, the girls are split into one of three categories.  There are the “companions” who are the highest ranked women.  These spouses breed sons for the men until they are used up and replaced.  There are the second tiered “concubines” who are the sexual playthings that have to be willing and ready for anything at all times.  And then there are the low ranked, undesirable “chastities” who are the teachers who remain at the school to train the next generations.

This book follows a girl named freida in the last 10 months of her training before the Ceremony.  All students are ranked by beauty and social media popularity.  Ever since frieda became inseparable friends, at age 4, with the highest ranked isabel, they dreamed of being companions and supported each other.  But lately isobel has begun isolating herself and the friendship begins to crumble.  Poor freida’s ranking has also begun to decline under the pressure and without her friend she feels lost.  This book shows freida’s long spiral into self-despair and destruction and her mad scramble for a coveted companion spot.

There is no happy ending.  This stark, bleak look at a terrible future for women was harrowing and heart-breaking.  The girls are vicious rivals who bully each other and abuse themselves.  I found meself both rooting for freida, pitying her, and becoming frustrated with her bad choices.  I wouldn’t call this a fun read per se, but it was certainly a compelling read.  I did personally like the first half of the book and the lead-up to the introduction of the boys (the “Inheritants”) better than the rest.  Overall, I recommend this book to those who can handle the harsh themes and are prepared for a thought-provoking and difficult book.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

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. . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Louise O’Neill – Author

To buy the book go to:

only ever yours – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

11 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – only ever yours (Louise O’ Neill)

  1. This book made me so angry, depressed, and just all around fell terrible. It was such a fascinating read, and I couldn’t put it down, but it was just too intense! Even though I read this awhile ago, I keep thinking about the book and the world it is set in – what comes next? How did their world get that way? How do they change their world?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with ye very much on this read. It made me feel horrible and yet I had to know how it ended. And I have been thinking of it periodically since I finished it for many of the same reasons. It is a powerful read but rough! Thanks for the comment.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How on Earth did it get labeled YA though! 🤣 Is it odd that I found this super intriguing just based on the trigger warnings? Fascinating review, Captain. Who would’ve thought such a book could be aimed for a younger audience, but I guess if it delivers the message in a powerful way, it’s definitely worth picking up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is YA. It is just rough. I can see how younger folk would be intrigued by the story. I sure was. It was just stark and bleak. It really was a warning lesson about how lack of education and focus on looks alone can help degrade female power. I do recommend it but can see how hard it could be for some people to read.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

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