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Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin: A Memoir Hardcover – August 20, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

What is it like to be a devout Mormon woman in today’s world? Poet and essayist Hardy first opined on the matter in her New York Times Magazine column, “Modern Love,” in which she laid bare her personal struggles to be true to both her heart and her faith. In this achingly candid memoir, Hardy delves more deeply into the dilemmas faced as she aged out of the church’s “single ward” and into her thirties. At a time when her mind should have been on the Mormon tenets of marriage and motherhood, Hardy found herself more interested in writing. (Reading Refuge by Mormon writer Terry Tempest Williams had proved a pivotal moment in life. A Mormon woman, writing? “I didn’t know such a thing existed,” Hardy writes. “Could exist.”) Falling in love with a Catholic man vexed Hardy further. Could she make it work with a partner who didn’t share the views that had guided her throughout her life? Although her account occasionally gets bogged down in too much detail, Hardy’s confessional tone is engaging, and her story is moving. --Allison Block


"Nicole Hardy is a bold, hilarious writer with a winning story to tell. In Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin, she takes us inside a religious culture she deeply respects, one that gave her a happy childhood and a loving family, but which, as she grows, demands that she squeeze her larger-than-life personality into a petite, conventional gender role. Her struggle between trying to be the woman her community expects her to become and her growing conviction that she must be herself, is one I won't soon forget. This is a book full of love, heartache, courage and adventure, and the terrors and thrills of claiming your one life."―Suzanne Morrison, author of Yoga Bitch

"Candid and insightful [a] captivating memior"―Publisher's Weekly

"[An] achingly candid memior"―Booklist

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books (August 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401341861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401341862
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As we mature, we all struggle with breaking away from those parts of our upbringing that no longer feel necessary or that even stifle us. Nicole Hardy grew up with an open and loving relationship with her parents and a religion (she was raised in the Mormon church) that served her well through childhood and adolescence. There was no teenage rebellion, no big disagreement or parting of ways that made it imperative for her to turn her back on how she was raised. Rather it was a series of events in her twenties and thirties that led her to question her beliefs and that finally led her to locate and name what she had to change.

Hardy does a fine job of describing what is at stake for her--always in the back of her mind are the religious teachings of her church, one of which is that the faithful in Mormon families will be reunited as a family after death. She knows that even if she is willing to accept the heartbreaking consequence of stepping outside the boundaries of church doctrine--thus relinquishing any hope of a reunion with her family in the afterlife--as heartbreaking as that thought is for her to contemplate, it will be even more devastating for the parents she loves and adores.

Hardy's story is a specific one about her place in the Mormon church. However, it is also a story many can relate to, about being single and creative and living a nontraditional life and how that fits into the expectations of families and churches and society. And for women in particular, especially women of faith who are over thirty, Hardy's experience shows how isolating and frustrating and devastating it can be trying to, in order to remain right with the church, suppress the normal human desire to experience sexual intimacy. Hardy writes, "This suffocating can't be right...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an LDS wife and mother, I did not expect to relate to Nicole's journey as much as I did. I was 25 when I got married and in LDS culture that can be considered "old". It certainly was to my family. Nevertheless, I eventually did get married and I saw the difference of "approval" from both family and ward members alike regarding the value of my life. Being married, my life "finally seemed to be going somewhere" to them and I felt less valued as a woman in my own right.

As a married woman, there was much about Nicole's experience that resonated with me. Being married does not mean that you have an enriching sex life, that you will be sexually compatible nor that your husband will not cheat on you or be emotionally absent from the marriage. So I found and I believe other LDS married women will find some identity with Nicole's pain. I found myself moved to tears many many times and I have worn out some chapters with my underlining and notes. Now that my 18 year marriage has unfortunately ended, I am gleaning great wisdom from her journey that I will carry with me into my second single-hood.

Thank you so much Nicole for being so vulnerable in an effort to speak to your people....to your sisters. I for one have been blessed by it. Cami
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Format: Hardcover
This book deserves a place on the shelf next to Woolf's A Room of One's Own and Tillie Olsen's Silences. It's as much about a woman choosing a creative life and having the strength to follow her dreams, rather than caving in to cultural pressure to procreate and live a prescribed female existence, as it is a meditation on sex and faith. The author is generous, compassionate, and gentle with characters such as her parents and boyfriends, which is a relief in a memoir culture riddled with blame and tales of abuse. The humor is also refreshing amidst much "mean" humor I encounter today, oddly mainly by female humorists. I did not expect to love this book, because I did not expect to find much about an abstinent Mormon life I could relate to, but that's the sign of a great book: it gave me insight into a world that I'd never much considered, in a page-turning, compelling narrative I couldn't stop reading. It's a deeply human, extraordinarily loving, profoundly insightful exploration of one woman's struggles over her sexuality and being a round peg for a square hole. I LOVED this book. Like Cheryl Strayed's Wild last year, I suspect this is going to be my favorite book of this year.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this but have a couple of criticisms. First, would have preferred past tense. Present tense did not work well with content that is so packed with reflection and insight. Additionally, the author should read The Purity Myth to learn more about how destructive chastity training can be to women, not just like her, but like many. She found her way out and is forgiving of the culture that once stifled her. But there are plenty of women who become crippled for a lifetime beneath the weight of virginity conditioning. It feels good to forgive. I understand. But it's not always the most responsible thing to do when there are other potential victims. One star less than five for the author's missed opportunity to reflect more deeply about the impact of the culture of her youth on ALL other women and girls, not just those who are tall and know from a young age they don't want motherhood. BUT four stars out of five for entertainment, wit, and evocative language.
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