by Louise O’Neill
Transworld UK, August 2022
Samantha Johnson is a forty-year-old, American influencer who runs a wellness empire – Shakti. With an Oscar-winning adaptation of her NYT-bestselling memoir under her belt, a powerful brand as a nononsense motivational speaker, and a booming business which she is about to sell in a multi-milliondollar deal, she has the world at her feet. She’s also launching a new book, CHASTE, in which she talks about her relationship with her sexuality. After writing a viral essay about her teenaged sexual awakening with her (female) best friend, she comes off stage after a sell-out event to some shocking news from her manager. That female best friend, Lisa, is demanding the magazine retract the essay – she never consented to this experience being shared, and what Samantha sees as a powerful erotic moment she sees very differently. She sees it as abuse. Samantha decides to return to the small town she grew up in, to confront Lisa, and convince her to drop the allegations. Once she’s back home, however, Samantha finds herself immediately wrongfooted by Lisa, now married to her high-school sweetheart, and the perfect suburban mom. Forced to confront the past she has whitewashed for years, she finds herself questioning her own memories. For both women have very different versions of how their relationship ended – so whose ‘truth’ is really a lie?
Louise O’Neill grew up in Clonakilty, a small town in West Cork, Ireland. Her first novel, Only Ever Yours, was released in 2014. Her latest novel, After the Silence, was a bestseller in Ireland.