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Book Review

‘Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin’ by Nicole Hardy

Despite its provocative title, Nicole Hardy’s terrific new memoir, “Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin,’’ is not a salacious book. Yes, Hardy writes about her quest to make love with a man and lose her virginity. But that quest is a frank and endearing examination of a young woman’s sexuality and her place in a very traditional religion which unequivocally preaches that “there is only one right way to live. One complete truth.” Neither is this a book bashing religion generally or the Mormon Church specifically. Hardy asserts that “[t]hough its members may be flawed, the Gospel allowed me to grow up knowing my family of four is united under God. We are our own country, indivisible. And by living the way I’ve been taught to live, I’ve felt loved, purposeful, and connected to what is divine.”

This is a coming-of-age story about a young woman who yearns to find physical love entwined with emotional fulfillment, as well as success as a poet and a prose writer. While on the surface these are not unusual goals, at 36 Hardy is not about to lose her virginity to just any man. She has meaningful relationships with a few good men, relationships that include physical closeness through ballroom dancing or chaste sleepovers. Dancing, in particular, is a release for Hardy, who boldly states: “Here, I am not a Mormon, not a virgin, not a schoolteacher. I am only a woman here, only my body moving in response to the pressure of someone else’s hands.”

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