Thursday, June 26, 2014
Book Review: Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin by Nicole Hardy
Author: Nicole Hardy
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Content Alert: some mild descriptions of sexual encounters, some swearing
It's been a couple of months since I read Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin, so I hope that my recollection is accurate. In other words, take any specifics in this review with a rather large grain of salt.
In the opening pages of Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin, Nicole Hardy is a thirtysomething Mormon woman, talking with her mom as she unpacks her belongings into a new condo. Over the course of the discussion, she says "shit," and I was like, "Awesome, a good Mormon girl who isn't afraid to swear in print. This is going to be my kind of book."
And while the book was funny, and well-written, and readable in a way that few memoirs written by MFAs usually are, I found that it didn't meet my expectations. This isn't a criticism of the story-- it's just that as a Mormon woman who got married before the ink on my diploma was dry, and as a Mormon girl who saw herself as a future mother above all things, Hardy's story was poignant and foreign and very eye-opening.
In the church, we are so quick to judge others, to second guess their motives and desires (like Hardy's desire not to be a mother), to pass people by in the hall that don't look like us or act like us or go to playgroup with us. We hear so much about being sensitive to single people in a church where being part of a couple is central to the doctrine, but I don't know what it feels like to be an adult member of the church who isn't part of a married couple. So I'm incredibly grateful to Hardy for writing honestly, and not bitterly, about that struggle, and also for being honest and vulnerable and open about her choice to explore her sexuality and leave the church when it wasn't what worked for her. The only thing that does disappoint me? That as a former Mormon, the being brave enough to swear in print thing kinda doesn't count.