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When Nicole Hardy's eye-opening "Modern Love" column appeared in the New York Times, the response from readers was overwhelming. Hardy's essay, which exposed the conflict between being true to herself as a woman and remaining true to her Mormon faith, struck a chord with women coast-to-coast. Now in her funny, intimate, and thoughtful memoir, Nicole Hardy explores how she c When Nicole Hardy's eye-opening "Modern Love" column appeared in the New York Times, the response from readers was overwhelming. Hardy's essay, which exposed the conflict between being true to herself as a woman and remaining true to her Mormon faith, struck a chord with women coast-to-coast. Now in her funny, intimate, and thoughtful memoir, Nicole Hardy explores how she came, at the age of thirty-five, to a crossroads regarding her faith and her identity. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nicole had held absolute conviction in her Mormon faith during her childhood and throughout her twenties. But as she aged out of the Church's "singles ward" and entered her thirties, she struggled to merge the life she envisioned for herself with the one the Church prescribed, wherein all women are called to be mothers and the role of homemaker is the emphatic ideal. Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin chronicles the extraordinary lengths Nicole went to in an attempt to reconcile her human needs with her spiritual life--flying across the country for dates with LDS men, taking up salsa dancing as a source for physical contact, even moving to Grand Cayman, where the ocean and scuba diving provided some solace. But neither secular pursuits nor LDS guidance could help Nicole prepare for the dilemma she would eventually face: a crisis of faith that caused her to question everything she'd grown up believing. In the tradition of the memoirs Devotion and Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin is a mesmerizing and wholly relatable account of one woman's hard-won mission to find love, acceptance, and happiness--on her own terms.


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When Nicole Hardy's eye-opening "Modern Love" column appeared in the New York Times, the response from readers was overwhelming. Hardy's essay, which exposed the conflict between being true to herself as a woman and remaining true to her Mormon faith, struck a chord with women coast-to-coast. Now in her funny, intimate, and thoughtful memoir, Nicole Hardy explores how she c When Nicole Hardy's eye-opening "Modern Love" column appeared in the New York Times, the response from readers was overwhelming. Hardy's essay, which exposed the conflict between being true to herself as a woman and remaining true to her Mormon faith, struck a chord with women coast-to-coast. Now in her funny, intimate, and thoughtful memoir, Nicole Hardy explores how she came, at the age of thirty-five, to a crossroads regarding her faith and her identity. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nicole had held absolute conviction in her Mormon faith during her childhood and throughout her twenties. But as she aged out of the Church's "singles ward" and entered her thirties, she struggled to merge the life she envisioned for herself with the one the Church prescribed, wherein all women are called to be mothers and the role of homemaker is the emphatic ideal. Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin chronicles the extraordinary lengths Nicole went to in an attempt to reconcile her human needs with her spiritual life--flying across the country for dates with LDS men, taking up salsa dancing as a source for physical contact, even moving to Grand Cayman, where the ocean and scuba diving provided some solace. But neither secular pursuits nor LDS guidance could help Nicole prepare for the dilemma she would eventually face: a crisis of faith that caused her to question everything she'd grown up believing. In the tradition of the memoirs Devotion and Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin is a mesmerizing and wholly relatable account of one woman's hard-won mission to find love, acceptance, and happiness--on her own terms.

30 review for Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Iroquois

    I have never before read a contemporary book that captured loneliness so well. Not the typical "I wanna get married" kind of thing but the true loneliness of not fitting in at all, of not having a community that truly accepts you for who you are, of not having that soft place to fall. And even though Nicole Hardy's struggles deal with her church (Mormon) and being a single woman in that church, and also being a virgin as a result, I found myself relating. I know what it's like to freak out when I have never before read a contemporary book that captured loneliness so well. Not the typical "I wanna get married" kind of thing but the true loneliness of not fitting in at all, of not having a community that truly accepts you for who you are, of not having that soft place to fall. And even though Nicole Hardy's struggles deal with her church (Mormon) and being a single woman in that church, and also being a virgin as a result, I found myself relating. I know what it's like to freak out when your life puts you in situations that make you question your whole paradigm, and you have to figure out how to survive what feels like the tectonic plates under your feet actually ARE shifting. And that's what I liked best about this book. That it dealt with the stresses of a changing worldview and the feelings of loss when you have to let go of old ways that were taught to you from infancy, and the fear of not knowing what will be left standing when you do. And I loved how much she confesses her most intimate thoughts and how that ties in with her learning to be a writer. Because what good is reading a memoir if the author doesn't really deliver the marrow of their life? It's the only true way to connect, and Hardy does it beautifully.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Callie

    I really don't know how to review this book without writing a review of her life and her life's choices, because since this is a memoir it's hard not to form these opinions. What I liked about this book: It felt honest. It was a story about a Mormon (I am also Mormon) It was well written. My 'issues' with it: It reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love, which I also liked but I don't like seeing all the imitations of it. Someday this book might sound dated, because it is so similar to the currently popular me I really don't know how to review this book without writing a review of her life and her life's choices, because since this is a memoir it's hard not to form these opinions. What I liked about this book: It felt honest. It was a story about a Mormon (I am also Mormon) It was well written. My 'issues' with it: It reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love, which I also liked but I don't like seeing all the imitations of it. Someday this book might sound dated, because it is so similar to the currently popular memoirs (and I read a lot of memoirs) You know what I mean, well educated white upper middle class women with 'problems'. Yes, they suffer. But not really. Not compared to many, many people in this world. And they get that, but they still want to tell their story. And we get that. And we read their stories and we often find them absorbing and enjoyable, but there is always the moment, when you finish and you feel like it's all a bit too victim-y for your taste. You sort of want to shake these people and say, "well, why don't you find a way to go out and contribute to the world, go dig a well for an African village or something, instead of moaning to us about how unfulfilled your fairly easy lives are." But then you feel judgmental and mean and you don't want to be that way. Here are some quotes I liked: On reading: "In the absence of boyfriends, books have taken on the role of the beloved. In the absence of adventure, passion, and pleasure, they've always been my source." On the LDS practice of separating singles from families in congregations, and younger singles from older singles: "The separation of young single adults from (plain old) single adults is supposedly a precaution against older men courting girls as young as eighteen. I'm not sure why said girls can't be taught to simply say no to men they're not interested in dating. Truthfully, I'm not sure it's a good idea to separate singles at all. Because we're absent from regular congregations, we singles--and our concerns--aren't often considered. Our absence reinforces the fact that a single life cannot be respected the way a married life can; it certainly can't be admired--unless as an example of how to bear a trial. Singlehood is a problem to be solved." On her loneliness: "What I wouldn't give for a goodnight phone call. An emergency contact. Someone who sleeps better when I'm there, who cares if the plane lands safely. Someone to call me sweetheart, bring soup when I'm sick, sunblock my back, forget to buy milk. What I wouldn't give for a man's body keeping me up at night, continually interrupting my sleep." On not being a domestic goddess: "It's not just cooking I avoid. It's pretty much every household task. I live in a condo so other people will do the planting, pruning, and weeding. Last week--all week--I washed my underwear in the shower because I didn't feel like doing laundry. Two pairs of my pants are hemmed with blue painters tape. The house gets cleaned when I'm expecting company, because I don't care if there are dishes in the living room, or if my clothes are strewn on the floor. Growing up, when other girls wanted to play house, I flat-out refused. I would only play school, or Solid Gold dancer." In the end, I guess I should say that I know writing this book took a lot of work, and a lot of courage, and I did find much here that resonated with me. It's much, much better than many, many memoirs.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    This is a decent book if you enjoy memoirs of basically privileged people finding themselves. But it seems a little padded with material that isn’t quite on point for its stated subject matter, while keeping rather quiet about some of the material that is. Nicole Hardy was raised Mormon, and overall was happy with the ordered life the church prescribed, but the older she got, the more a problem presented itself. The Mormon church is very opposed to sex before marriage, while simultaneously holdin This is a decent book if you enjoy memoirs of basically privileged people finding themselves. But it seems a little padded with material that isn’t quite on point for its stated subject matter, while keeping rather quiet about some of the material that is. Nicole Hardy was raised Mormon, and overall was happy with the ordered life the church prescribed, but the older she got, the more a problem presented itself. The Mormon church is very opposed to sex before marriage, while simultaneously holding a very traditional view of gender roles, in which a woman’s highest spiritual purpose is to marry and have children. People marry young, and women are expected to subordinate their lives and careers to those of their husbands. But Hardy found herself graduating BYU without a husband lined up, and eventually realized that despite the church’s insistence, motherhood didn’t appeal to her. This lack of orthodoxy and her independent lifestyle made Hardy a mismatch with Mormon men, while her continued belief in celibacy until marriage put a damper on relationships with others. The book follows her journey of self-discovery from insular beginnings (though she grew up in Seattle, she didn’t realize people could choose not to have children), through leaving her teaching career to pursue writing, through various relationships and international travels, until she finally breaks with the church and has sex at the age of 36. I’d previously read about the Mormon marriage crisis, in a fascinating article that explores demographic shifts that make it harder for many American women to find a husband (in mainstream society, it’s that more women than men are earning college degrees; for Mormons, it’s that more men than women leave the church). Oddly, though, Hardy doesn’t address this bigger picture at all, nor does she seem to believe that there are more Mormon women than men; instead, she feels alone in her singlehood. Oddly too, for someone whose life was directed by religion, she doesn’t actually talk much about Mormonism. I was a little surprised by how absent religion is from her portrayal of her inner life during her time in the church: she doesn’t talk about things like praying over big decisions, or about any hole left in her life when she leaves, a decision that has no clear build-up. And there’s very little here about Mormon beliefs or practices. She’s defensive about the use of terms like “magic underwear,” leading me to believe she’s being careful not to dish on her family’s religion. But a little more information might have been warranted: when she compares church services in her singles congregation to speed dating, for instance, I was confused, wondering how the one could resemble the other. Finally, she doesn’t discuss any sexual hang-ups or difficulties, apparently experiencing no barriers other than religious dictates to a fun and busy sex life. Meanwhile, the book is padded out with other aspects of the author’s life: her writing program, travels, scuba diving, etc. Overall, despite the fact that Hardy clearly found her situation painful and confusing for much of her 20s and 30s, her memoir is pretty lightweight. She’s a good writer and it was a quick read, but it isn’t one I’d suggest you go out of your way for unless you personally relate. It did help me make a little more sense of life decisions I’ve seen from Mormons and ex-Mormons, though.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paullette

    This is a fantastically fun read that I blazed through in two days--couldn't put it down!!! I laughed, I cried, I used Visine so I could still look presentable at work after reading all night. It's such a refreshingly original book that I almost feel guilty at how easily I imagined a close kinship with its author. It is so much a specific tale, with a precisely unique heroine, that one could be forgiven for assuming it would read like science-fiction. It is, however, a book that manages to fully This is a fantastically fun read that I blazed through in two days--couldn't put it down!!! I laughed, I cried, I used Visine so I could still look presentable at work after reading all night. It's such a refreshingly original book that I almost feel guilty at how easily I imagined a close kinship with its author. It is so much a specific tale, with a precisely unique heroine, that one could be forgiven for assuming it would read like science-fiction. It is, however, a book that manages to fully tell its own story while welcoming the reader's own. I found much to identify with, while also learning about a completely foreign way of life. I won't belabor the now-familiar premise of Girl-trusts-Church, Church-fails-Girl, Girl-conquers-World. You need only know that *good*--like "in the face of adversity" good--still exists, as well as hope and faith, and these set the stage for how security and terror can coexist in a social template that works for most, so doesn't address its small, unserved percentage. Hardy's struggle with her church as an unmarried woman and artist has deep resonance in secular life, and therein formed my kinship. It is difficult, even without religious expectations, to be single in a coupled world, but Hardy's eloquent wrestling with her faith and biological urges presents those difficulties in an entirely new light. It is wondrous, how Hardy paints the sympathetic portrait of an iconoclast who could, at heart, be Every Woman. This memoir is a little miracle--Hardy's writing is clear and informative, funny and touching--always insightful and entertaining. Seattle residents will get an extra kick out of recognizing the various clubs and restaurants mentioned in the book, but non-residents won't feel lost at all. This is the memoir to read, even if you don't normally read memoirs; it's a very special book, and a wonderful read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    LATOYA JOVENA

    An interesting and enlightening take on the Mormon religion; written by a brilliant and well read author. This story hits close to home for me. I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness since the age of 9 and never wanted anything to do with it. I'm now an atheist. Recently I've been think what would have happened if my family was baptist or something. Would I have enjoyed church and the church members? Would I believe in god now? This book makes me wonder the same things about the author. Mormonism ha An interesting and enlightening take on the Mormon religion; written by a brilliant and well read author. This story hits close to home for me. I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness since the age of 9 and never wanted anything to do with it. I'm now an atheist. Recently I've been think what would have happened if my family was baptist or something. Would I have enjoyed church and the church members? Would I believe in god now? This book makes me wonder the same things about the author. Mormonism has worked for her in every way except one. She feels torn between marriage and motherhood and her ambitions. This has led to her not getting married and not having sex. Would this still be the case if she were raised in a different church? Would she have found a way to balance her career ambitions with her family life? The answers may never be clear for either of us. I want to be best friends with this girl just so we can discuss it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer D. Munro

    A Life of One’s Own! 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 A Life of One’s Own! 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Burton

    I realize that not everyone will be interested in or be able to relate to this book, but wow, this resonated with me and made me feel so UNDERSTOOD in a way that I’ve never felt on such a fundamental level. Being Mormon myself and being single in a culture that so heavily emphasizes marriage and motherhood often has me wondering what it means to be feminine and to be a woman without acting in those roles. Cheryl Strayed once said that there’s an inherent divinity in how books allow us to experie I realize that not everyone will be interested in or be able to relate to this book, but wow, this resonated with me and made me feel so UNDERSTOOD in a way that I’ve never felt on such a fundamental level. Being Mormon myself and being single in a culture that so heavily emphasizes marriage and motherhood often has me wondering what it means to be feminine and to be a woman without acting in those roles. Cheryl Strayed once said that there’s an inherent divinity in how books allow us to experience life through someone else’s eyes, but what about an author who can see and feel and articulate so poignantly what I’m experiencing?? There were so many passages I read that left me wondering if I hadn’t actually written them myself. I’m grateful for this book exactly at a time when I needed it, and I feel bolstered by the reminder that my identity is so much more than my relationship status.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kara of BookishBytes

    Ms. Hardy's memoir describes the tension in her life between the expectations she had for love and marriage formed in her religious upbringing in the Mormon Church, and the dating and sexual experiences she had as a single adult woman which lead her to choose to leave the Church. She never expressed a strong personal commitment to the Mormon Church beyond the fact that she had a pattern of attending church with her family; she never indicated that she found particular comfort or solace in its tea Ms. Hardy's memoir describes the tension in her life between the expectations she had for love and marriage formed in her religious upbringing in the Mormon Church, and the dating and sexual experiences she had as a single adult woman which lead her to choose to leave the Church. She never expressed a strong personal commitment to the Mormon Church beyond the fact that she had a pattern of attending church with her family; she never indicated that she found particular comfort or solace in its teachings or community. She describes her path away from it, but leaving the Church doesn’t appear to be difficult for her. She seemed tied to it only because of her parents’ participation. She doesn’t indicate that her loss of faith has any negative consequences or leaves any lack in her life. So this part of the narrative felt flat. What she does seem to have difficulty with is finding a person or community that she feels loves her unconditionally. The story arc in this book is her journey to find love and belonging—specifically a husband or life partner. She dates, feels uncomfortable dating men who expect to have sex with her before marriage, continues dating, decides she does want to have sex without marrying, does that, and still is unfulfilled. The only relationships she seems to have where she is supported and loved unconditionally are with her work friends (at a restaurant where she has worked for many years) and her parents (who are unhappy with her decision to leave the Mormon Church, but want to still be a part of her life). Unfortunately, Ms. Hardy still doesn’t seem happy at the end of the book. The final scene is of her birthday party and she mentions the people who attend to support her and celebrate her. (Conspicuous by his absence is a life companion-—the object she’s spent the whole book searching for.) Still, I couldn’t help feeling that she wasn’t entirely happy. The warmest she seemed to feel about her life was contented resignation. Not happiness, not joy, but a degree of contentment. Her life hadn’t turned out the way she had imagined or planned it and she is apologetic to herself about that. I think this concept would have been a far more interesting thought to explore in a memoir—What kind of life do we make for ourselves when we don’t have the life experiences we expect to have? This book left me feeling a great deal of compassion for the author. She felt constrained by her faith (or lack thereof) and in her church community, but she doesn’t seem happy after leaving the Church. She wasn’t happy before she had sex with the men she was dating but she doesn’t seem happy after having sex with them. I’m left feeling that this author still has a lot to figure out about how to find joy in her life, or to make for herself the life that makes her happy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rhi

    Cognitive Dissonance is described as: "The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance." Nicole Hardy explores her experience with this uncomfortable state when her authentic self shows up and does not match the ideal she has been raised to believe in as part of the Mormon religion. She does Cognitive Dissonance is described as: "The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance." Nicole Hardy explores her experience with this uncomfortable state when her authentic self shows up and does not match the ideal she has been raised to believe in as part of the Mormon religion. She does not want a husband and children. She wants to write and to experience all that life holds. Her honesty about the conflict she feels about being a virginal church member overwhelmed by the sensual rings truer than true. As a former Mormon (the Church and I parted ways when I was 16), I understand the social structures she was caught in. In fact, the talk she describes having been given as a 12 year old in a young women's class was the same one I recall hearing from Mrs. Stone (my Beehive leader). The black and whiteness of right and wrong, so carefully constructed leaves no room for shades of grey. In order to be true to herself . . . the self as God created her . . .Nicole must make a difficult choice and she finds that not only are there shades of grey, but every colour of the rainbow. Thank you, Nicole, for not taking the path of least resistance and staying the course of WHO YOU ARE and for sharing the Journey with us all.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    This was not a book I sought out. I spontaneously saw it on the new books shelf and the "Latter-Day" caught my eye. To sum up: Sexually frustrated single Mormon Girl tries Salsa dancing and SCUBA diving. Spoiler alert: She leaves the church and has sex. It reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love but I didn't like it quite as well. It has all of the self-indulgent tone and almost none of the humor and charm. I'm not giving it a star rating because I feel like if I did, it would be more of a rating of her l This was not a book I sought out. I spontaneously saw it on the new books shelf and the "Latter-Day" caught my eye. To sum up: Sexually frustrated single Mormon Girl tries Salsa dancing and SCUBA diving. Spoiler alert: She leaves the church and has sex. It reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love but I didn't like it quite as well. It has all of the self-indulgent tone and almost none of the humor and charm. I'm not giving it a star rating because I feel like if I did, it would be more of a rating of her life choices than her writing. I'm sure her struggles with faith were very real. Singles in the church are not treated particularly well, and a lot of people say dumb things to them with their big fat mouths. But guess what? I'm a thirty-seven year old mother of four and people say dumb things to me with their big fat mouths too. It's not enough to write a memoir about.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book made me sad. I am a member of the LDS church, and I have known far too many people who have left because some clueless member of the church said something heartless to them. Gives the rest of us a bad name. I had to sympathize with Nicole's challenges in dealing with the standard view of a "perfect" life in the church when her life didn't fit the mold. I too have a different way of life than the standard Molly Mormon, but I've been blessed to have been surrounded by good, supportive, o This book made me sad. I am a member of the LDS church, and I have known far too many people who have left because some clueless member of the church said something heartless to them. Gives the rest of us a bad name. I had to sympathize with Nicole's challenges in dealing with the standard view of a "perfect" life in the church when her life didn't fit the mold. I too have a different way of life than the standard Molly Mormon, but I've been blessed to have been surrounded by good, supportive, open-minded people. Sadly, that's not the case for everyone. Many times, I felt myself wishing I could speak to her personally and say "It doesn't have to be like that!"

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Stevens

    "I like to get people laughing, and then punch them in the stomach." It's not as sadistic as it sounds, but Hardy's not foolin'; She will get you laughing, then punch you in the stomach. The thing is, you keep coming back for more because Nicole Hardy is a fantastic storyteller. With a carefully-crafted balance of wit and guts, she relates her experience in a way that is clever and charming, yet aches with stark vulnerability. Exquisitely written, and a joy to read -- Sucker punches and all. "I like to get people laughing, and then punch them in the stomach." It's not as sadistic as it sounds, but Hardy's not foolin'; She will get you laughing, then punch you in the stomach. The thing is, you keep coming back for more because Nicole Hardy is a fantastic storyteller. With a carefully-crafted balance of wit and guts, she relates her experience in a way that is clever and charming, yet aches with stark vulnerability. Exquisitely written, and a joy to read -- Sucker punches and all.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Peggy Ganong

    There are many memoirs flooding the US book market. Most strike me as contrived, unconvincing and forgettable. Not this one. It is thoughtful, candid and well written (Hardy is a poet). The story it tells is true and rings true. In some ways, it is everyone's story. Growing up means figuring out who you are and what you want in life, identifying the obstacles and contradictions, accepting that you can't have everything, and pursuing what you choose as vital. Hardy chose the writing life and the There are many memoirs flooding the US book market. Most strike me as contrived, unconvincing and forgettable. Not this one. It is thoughtful, candid and well written (Hardy is a poet). The story it tells is true and rings true. In some ways, it is everyone's story. Growing up means figuring out who you are and what you want in life, identifying the obstacles and contradictions, accepting that you can't have everything, and pursuing what you choose as vital. Hardy chose the writing life and the childfree life and thus had to rethink her relationship to the Mormon Church and risk disappointing her loving and deeply religious parents. Sex, detached from its procreative function, plays a role but not a big one. This isn't a book about unburdening oneself of one's virginity at the ripe old age of 36. It's a book about the struggle for self definition and a room of one's own. One review I read faulted the author for not taking down the Mormon Church for its profound sexism. The reviewer expected a different book than the one she read. I would say she did not read deeply enough. This book does offer a stinging critique of the rigid role Mormonism assigns to women. Its tent is not big enough or generous enough to hold men and women who eschew the traditional family model. Gays, lesbians, men and women who don't want to be parents (and those who can't) are turned out of the Temple. Virginia Woolf did a little thought experiment in A Room of One's Own, imagining the life of Will Shakespeare's sister Ann. I found myself wondering how things would have gone for Nicole Hardy had she been a boy named Nick Hardy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    Hmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not sure what I think about this read. I could relate to the author--we're roughly the same age, both had wonderful faith-based childhood homes, and experienced similar BYU undergraduate educations. I have also felt at times "different" from other LDS women around me and have bristled at what I perceived as imposed expectations. Yet while my life experiences have anchored me to my faith, I see good people find genuine pain where I find solace. I so wish others could walk in m Hmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not sure what I think about this read. I could relate to the author--we're roughly the same age, both had wonderful faith-based childhood homes, and experienced similar BYU undergraduate educations. I have also felt at times "different" from other LDS women around me and have bristled at what I perceived as imposed expectations. Yet while my life experiences have anchored me to my faith, I see good people find genuine pain where I find solace. I so wish others could walk in my shoes and feel what I feel. But it's good to walk in someone else's every once in a while and be reminded we could all cut each other some slack--I know I need it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    The first third of this book was a little slow for me. Maybe because it was about her childhood and BYU experiences, which as a convert who later left Mormonism, I just didn't relate to. But the second two-thirds of this book felt more honest and real, and it captured the feeling of being trapped in a world that just doesn't fit. The story of being a 35-year old Mormon virgin may not be universal, but the author's capturing of the feelings of not being a part of a community that your world is cr The first third of this book was a little slow for me. Maybe because it was about her childhood and BYU experiences, which as a convert who later left Mormonism, I just didn't relate to. But the second two-thirds of this book felt more honest and real, and it captured the feeling of being trapped in a world that just doesn't fit. The story of being a 35-year old Mormon virgin may not be universal, but the author's capturing of the feelings of not being a part of a community that your world is created around is. A very candid and authentic feeling memoir.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    Did not expect this one to hit as hard as it did - I don't hold *any* religious or spiritual convictions, so I expected to find myself frustrated by the author's unwavering commitment to hers even as it beat her down for years and years, but she did SUCH a good job articulating the tension between her beliefs and her desires in such a way that a reader who had ever experienced frustration or loneliness could definitely empathize. It was just so well-done - admittedly some of the flashback chapte Did not expect this one to hit as hard as it did - I don't hold *any* religious or spiritual convictions, so I expected to find myself frustrated by the author's unwavering commitment to hers even as it beat her down for years and years, but she did SUCH a good job articulating the tension between her beliefs and her desires in such a way that a reader who had ever experienced frustration or loneliness could definitely empathize. It was just so well-done - admittedly some of the flashback chapters were written in the present tense, which I didn't think was the best stylistic choice, and some of the red flags on these guys could have been seen from space, but otherwise? Heartily recommend. I'd be very curious to read an update on how her life has progressed since publication.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    This book resonated with me in some pretty hard ways - the desire for companionship, the desire to be wanted and loved, being in conflict with the norms of culture and one's religious community. However, that being said, thankfully, there were off-shoots where I just couldn't connect. Whereas Hardy talked about knowing only one unmarried woman in the LDS church (and she was definitely an odd bird), I have been blessed with so many examples of powerful, strong, dedicated women who are not waiting This book resonated with me in some pretty hard ways - the desire for companionship, the desire to be wanted and loved, being in conflict with the norms of culture and one's religious community. However, that being said, thankfully, there were off-shoots where I just couldn't connect. Whereas Hardy talked about knowing only one unmarried woman in the LDS church (and she was definitely an odd bird), I have been blessed with so many examples of powerful, strong, dedicated women who are not waiting around for a husband to define them and give them purpose. My church community doesn't do the best with ministering to and drawing singles into community but that doesn't mean that there isn't room for me within the church. Hardy's experience of what it means to be a Mormon and single had me thanking God for my place within my church community, a place that isn't perfect but still allows my participation and contribution. But, to an extent, I did feel like she was writing about my own life and had me nodding my head in agreement and, at times, in laughter. * "If I were brave, I'd tell her: I can't count the number of prayers I've said thanking God that I don't crave children. Because how could I bear the weight of wanting more?" * Her use of the acronym FOMO, meaning the Fear of Missing Out...a problem that I most definitely have. * "I've known for ten years at least that if the kind of man I want exists within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he is rare, not unlike the endangered red panda of the Himalayas. Show me an LDS man who is wickedly funny, politically liberal, brighter than the average bear, and uncommitted to 1950s gender roles, and I will show you the shaggy tail and waddling gait of the Airulus fulgens, its mischevious mouth rife with bamboo." * I don't want to live for something that I can't control, that might never happen. What good would it do to measure my success or worth by something so arbitrary? And I can't sit through the sentence that always comes next, as if it could be a boon, as if it is not the most soul-crushing aside. Some version of the same emphatic promise: "I assure you that if you have to wait until the next life to be blessed with a choice companion, God will surely compensate you."" (Okay, that's not the aside that's said in my church community but there are some well-meaning but just-as-soul-crushing types of things said.) All in all, a beautifully written book that I connected with and am definitely recommending to other friends.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Her story is not my story, and yet it is my story. Alot of women can identify with the discord that happens when ones worth is solely based on one's ability to mother. There's so much more to a woman than that. The author expresses it so well when she says, "There is no room for what I feel, what I'm drawn to, what I'm good at. My leaders tell me what my gifts are, and they're wrong. They tell me what my nature is, and they're wrong. They tell me what my purpose is, and I feel nothing." Regardin Her story is not my story, and yet it is my story. Alot of women can identify with the discord that happens when ones worth is solely based on one's ability to mother. There's so much more to a woman than that. The author expresses it so well when she says, "There is no room for what I feel, what I'm drawn to, what I'm good at. My leaders tell me what my gifts are, and they're wrong. They tell me what my nature is, and they're wrong. They tell me what my purpose is, and I feel nothing." Regarding sexuality and staying a virgin until marriage she says, "How could she understand what it feels like to hear the word "companion" over and over again, as if companionship is what's missing. A dog is a companion. A friend is a companion. I could buy a dog, and I have friends. Companionship is not the issue. Eros is the issue. And were I married, my sexuality would be acknowledged, and valued. It would be holy, fully sanctioned, God-given. But as it stands I must pretend it doesn't exist. I must keep myself apart from it, rise above it. Sexuality is destructive, for a woman like me." Further on, "If I say the crisis of celibacy is a crisis of isolation, that I am wrong in both places, judged by both sides, she will say wait for my spiritual reward. 'Look to the afterlife,' as if this life means nothing. There will be no way to respond that isn't sacrilege. No prophet or apostle has lived a celibate life is what I'd like to tell her. No one who's ever told me celibacy is a viable option has ever been celibate...People stand at the pulpit, or they come to my house, and tell me not to need what every human needs. Afterward, they go home and undress. They lie down next to the person they love most, or once did. When they reach across the bed, someone is there." The author isn't able to stay LDS, she spent 30+ years trying to fit into a mold that she didn't fit in. I also fit into that mold until my belief system changed and I no longer fit as well. But her book, shows respect and gratitude for the goodness that being a member of the LDS church brought her as a child and young adult. I feel the same myself, and identified with her experiences. I would easily recommend this book to those that are LDS to see what it's like for others that don't have the same experience as themselves, to deepen their compassion for the many, many single young adults out there and their struggles balancing their religious beliefs about sexualilty with their experience in the world.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ted

    Wow was hoping to get a realistic view on an issue that is something I worry and want to know more about. That being said other than the fact that this individual is a 'writer', and thus the book is not boring, there is little of value in this book other than understand a person who is looking to complain and whine from the get go. Someone who wants to blame everyone for the fact that she lives in a total unrealistic fantasy world according to her snotty view on living a religion. She is a snob a Wow was hoping to get a realistic view on an issue that is something I worry and want to know more about. That being said other than the fact that this individual is a 'writer', and thus the book is not boring, there is little of value in this book other than understand a person who is looking to complain and whine from the get go. Someone who wants to blame everyone for the fact that she lives in a total unrealistic fantasy world according to her snotty view on living a religion. She is a snob a complainer, from the very first page of the book. While trying to prove her 'humble' family life with the story about how sometimes she had to push her car because it would not go in reverse. Oh the numbers of teenagers that would kill for a car of any kind in high school, but we get to be sad for her humble upbringing. Selfish also seems to fit here very well also!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    This is a quick read. I can't quite say I enjoyed it but I did think it was worth reading. If you have any single LDS women in your life I think it would open your eyes to their lonliness and how the mormon culture entirely fails them. I found myself feeling so sad for the author. Unable to find happiness for so long. Would be a great book for a book club. I was so glad that she finally just made a choice and embraced it. To me it didn't matter what she chose, she just needed to embrace it. Her This is a quick read. I can't quite say I enjoyed it but I did think it was worth reading. If you have any single LDS women in your life I think it would open your eyes to their lonliness and how the mormon culture entirely fails them. I found myself feeling so sad for the author. Unable to find happiness for so long. Would be a great book for a book club. I was so glad that she finally just made a choice and embraced it. To me it didn't matter what she chose, she just needed to embrace it. Her life as an active Mormon single woman was all about having one foot in the door and one foot unsure what planet to even be on.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Isla McKetta

    Nicole Hardy carries her Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin from Modern Love column to memoir and teaches about love, compassion, and feminism on the way. This beautifully human book covers everything you think and all kinds of things you don't expect. Hardy helped me be courageous in my own writing and to finally write about my real, un-gussied-up self (in an essay that doubles as a book review). Nicole Hardy carries her Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin from Modern Love column to memoir and teaches about love, compassion, and feminism on the way. This beautifully human book covers everything you think and all kinds of things you don't expect. Hardy helped me be courageous in my own writing and to finally write about my real, un-gussied-up self (in an essay that doubles as a book review).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erin Malone

    In this memoir, Hardy proves fearless. It's not just because she's writing about difficult subjects-- faith, sexuality, and how her identity in the Mormon church is at odds with her sense of self. She seems to approach life fearlessly. Though "virginal", she never shies away from challenge. She travels alone to exotic places, salsa dances, deep-sea dives, and lives for her art. Ultimately, her bravest act is to accept herself as she is. This is a compelling story. In this memoir, Hardy proves fearless. It's not just because she's writing about difficult subjects-- faith, sexuality, and how her identity in the Mormon church is at odds with her sense of self. She seems to approach life fearlessly. Though "virginal", she never shies away from challenge. She travels alone to exotic places, salsa dances, deep-sea dives, and lives for her art. Ultimately, her bravest act is to accept herself as she is. This is a compelling story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Beth Lundgreen

    Loved this book and appreciated the honesty of it. Her experiences parallel my own so I found it very relatable and often found her describing feelings I've experienced but hadn't quite been able to express. I'm not sure people unfamiliar with LDS beliefs or culture can fully grasp her struggle but for those who want to get a better idea of the mid-single experience in Mormonism this is a must read. Loved this book and appreciated the honesty of it. Her experiences parallel my own so I found it very relatable and often found her describing feelings I've experienced but hadn't quite been able to express. I'm not sure people unfamiliar with LDS beliefs or culture can fully grasp her struggle but for those who want to get a better idea of the mid-single experience in Mormonism this is a must read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I have such mixed feelings about this one. It was a fast read. While I dont think her story is at all unique (she is just one of the few to write about it) she does not really aknowledge other people's experience. In the end I kind of just felt bad for her, which I am sure was not her point. Would love to discuss this one in a book club settting. I have such mixed feelings about this one. It was a fast read. While I dont think her story is at all unique (she is just one of the few to write about it) she does not really aknowledge other people's experience. In the end I kind of just felt bad for her, which I am sure was not her point. Would love to discuss this one in a book club settting.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I picked this up because I needed super light reading and between the premise (chronically single LDS lady) and a note on the jacket about Hardy's Modern Love column, I expected 300 pages of sass (and maybe a little schadenfreude). That was a gross underestimation. Predictably, Hardy talks about sex (and its absence) at length. She also spends as much time exploring expectations of women in the Mormon church. She struggles with the teaching that women can obtain the highest level of exaltation o I picked this up because I needed super light reading and between the premise (chronically single LDS lady) and a note on the jacket about Hardy's Modern Love column, I expected 300 pages of sass (and maybe a little schadenfreude). That was a gross underestimation. Predictably, Hardy talks about sex (and its absence) at length. She also spends as much time exploring expectations of women in the Mormon church. She struggles with the teaching that women can obtain the highest level of exaltation only through marriage and motherhood, a future she expects (view spoiler)[but never achieves because, it turns out, it's not what she wants. (hide spoiler)] Hardy also talks a lot about why the church worked for her parents, how their faith and community has provided safety and security for most of their lives, and how this inspired her to persevere within the Church. Her spiritual struggle is depicted convincingly and it's easy to empathize with her as she bounces between reverence for the values, beliefs, and institution that have always defined her and with which her family has thrived, and her emerging personal strengths and needs. I tend to lose patience with I-did-it-my-way stories--the personal essays and memoirs that justify elaborate exceptions and personal sacrifices made purely for the benefit of personal fulfillment--but Hardy's is easier to take. It's not a celebration of American individualism or wannabe-messiah heroism but, rather, the musings of a woman who assumed more than her share of responsibility for her discontent and spent nearly two decades trying to fit in a fundamentally incompatible paradigm. It's a powerful story, well written, and overflowing with love.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Hall

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received this as an early read from NetGalley. I loved this! I grew up with a goodly number of Mormon families, but it was one religion that didn't seem to invite outsiders. Everyone was friendly at school (it was a small Alaskan town in the 70's and 80's, everyone knew everyone) but the Mormon kids didn't really invite non-Mormon kids over for sleepovers and asking questions about the inner workings of the LDS church was NOT encouraged. This book shone a light on the most intimate of subjects I received this as an early read from NetGalley. I loved this! I grew up with a goodly number of Mormon families, but it was one religion that didn't seem to invite outsiders. Everyone was friendly at school (it was a small Alaskan town in the 70's and 80's, everyone knew everyone) but the Mormon kids didn't really invite non-Mormon kids over for sleepovers and asking questions about the inner workings of the LDS church was NOT encouraged. This book shone a light on the most intimate of subjects - and source of taboos - within the church which was fascinating in and of itself. But, the author's story and sense of humor were really what kept me reading, I think she's a fantastic writer with a spot-on sense of humor and she manages to analyze her issues without coming across as a self-involved navel gazer - it's a fine line, trust me. As someone who struggled with the question of having a family and eventually deciding that no, it wasn't a burning need for me to have children (and children deserve parents who yearned to have them) I could relate to a lot of the responses and attitudes the author encountered from ignorant and occasionally well-meaning people who assumed she was a carbon copy of them and their ideas of what was "normal". Good for you Nicole, for not waiting for "someday" to experience the world and for getting on with your life as you pursued your dreams!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Angela Gottula

    I've wanted to read this book since the Modern Love column years ago, and as a (celibate) divorced LDS woman, I am glad I finally read it. I loved her story. Thank you Nicole for putting into words how so many of us feel, what so many of us struggle with. My only criticisms of the book are that her Mormon doctrine points are presented as "black and white" absolutes, while many Mormons these days (including divorced singles such as myself) have transitioned to a more "gray" approach. That being s I've wanted to read this book since the Modern Love column years ago, and as a (celibate) divorced LDS woman, I am glad I finally read it. I loved her story. Thank you Nicole for putting into words how so many of us feel, what so many of us struggle with. My only criticisms of the book are that her Mormon doctrine points are presented as "black and white" absolutes, while many Mormons these days (including divorced singles such as myself) have transitioned to a more "gray" approach. That being said, sex has always been "black" or "white" and I really appreciated her transition from staunch believer to free thinker. I've been recommending this book to my fellow "gray" Mormons, fully understanding it might push some of them over the edge. I sometimes feel close to the edge myself, and this helped me feel not so alone.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Love her writing. She is easy to relate to: her struggles to fit the LDS mold of what a woman should be and want; finding the balance between her faith and her hopes, dreams, and desires for her life. I love that she is a strong woman who wants someone to hold her hand, wake up next to, and challenge her, but not define her. There is humor (often self-deprecating) but it isn't meant to be a humor piece. (view spoiler)[I could identify with the dichotomy between well-meaning and great people in t Love her writing. She is easy to relate to: her struggles to fit the LDS mold of what a woman should be and want; finding the balance between her faith and her hopes, dreams, and desires for her life. I love that she is a strong woman who wants someone to hold her hand, wake up next to, and challenge her, but not define her. There is humor (often self-deprecating) but it isn't meant to be a humor piece. (view spoiler)[I could identify with the dichotomy between well-meaning and great people in the church and a church with flawed principles/beliefs/laws. The section where she talks about the email from the Bishop, reprimanding her and calling for her repentance for the supposed indiscretions he is sure happened on her trip, reminded me of a childhood experience. I grew up with grandparents who were Mormon and I 'tried on' the faith as one of many churches throughout my life. I was called into the Bishop's office to get my temple recommend (I was middle school age) and left crying. I don't know what was said, but it was the notion of I must have something to repent since my parents were divorced and dad wasn't mormon. (hide spoiler)]

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    This is a beautifully written memoir. Humorous and light, yes. But Hardy also captures the anguish that comes when the cognitive dissonance becomes too much and you can no longer reconcile what you want and need with what you're supposed to want and need and you're finally forced to make a painful choice. As someone who is pretty much in the same situation as Hardy, I felt like she was writing my own story. Her memoir is largely about making choices and following her own path, even when family, f This is a beautifully written memoir. Humorous and light, yes. But Hardy also captures the anguish that comes when the cognitive dissonance becomes too much and you can no longer reconcile what you want and need with what you're supposed to want and need and you're finally forced to make a painful choice. As someone who is pretty much in the same situation as Hardy, I felt like she was writing my own story. Her memoir is largely about making choices and following her own path, even when family, friends and religious leaders are pressuring her to follow a prescriptive life. To risk "rocking the boat" and go for what she wants is, in my opinion, admirable. In some ways, the story is a cliche-- we've read a thousand stories about people who choose to defy their cultural conventions. But Hardy's writing makes that story interesting, relevant and relatable, regardless of your personal circumstances.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    This book was a very interesting read to me. Nicole Hardy has a writing style that I very much enjoyed. She dealt with a very sensitive topic in a respectful way. I could completely relate to the way she talked about loving books and being so excited to come to class and discuss them, and I can relate to not accepting the 'traditional' role as all that is required to make a woman happy in life--and the guilt that comes with that sometimes. Her reaction to so many texts, books and movies, could h This book was a very interesting read to me. Nicole Hardy has a writing style that I very much enjoyed. She dealt with a very sensitive topic in a respectful way. I could completely relate to the way she talked about loving books and being so excited to come to class and discuss them, and I can relate to not accepting the 'traditional' role as all that is required to make a woman happy in life--and the guilt that comes with that sometimes. Her reaction to so many texts, books and movies, could have been mine... I can somewhat relate to her description of the LDS church, as it was a faith I grew up around. I had great sympathy for the choice she felt she had to make in leaving the church; it must have been terrible to think that it could tear her family apart. The message is great though--do what you love, do what you're driven to do, do what makes you happy, and God will love you regardless.

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