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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 90/100: Loose Girl - A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen

Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity - Kerry Cohen

I'm really astounded at how judgmental people get about memoirs. Someone puts their most vulnerable moments on display for all the world to see, and then readers gang up about what an [insert derogatory word here] person the author is?

There were definitely times while reading "Loose Girl" that I wanted to scream, "Stop, just stop!" I didn't want Kerry to keep making the same self-destructive choices. But I read on because there is always something fascinating in watching someone else's life slowly unravel, but there's more to this memoir than that. It is so beautifully written, immediate and vivid, often painfully so. Although there are quite a few descriptions of sex, it never becomes lurid or gratuitous because it is always focused on the underlying need and desperation driving the act. What drew me to this book was that Kerry's teenage and young adult years were so incredibly different from mine -- but I would be lying, as I think most people would, if I'd said I didn't recognize that same hunger to be loved in myself.

Although Kerry doesn't come right out and say why she felt this overwhelming need to find validation and men, she recounts several incredibly telling interactions with her parents that demonstrate the total lack of appropriate parental boundaries, including a hint of sexual abuse between her mother and sister. We all have strange dynamics in our families, and reading about Kerry's interactions with her parents and her sister was just as compelling as her various relationships with men, if not moreso.

I do wish the book had explored her transition to "monogamy" when she met her husband a little more. It feels like she never really "recovered," but rather had the intention to do so and then the right man came along at the right time. While a year of "sobriety" might have been more satisfying, sometimes life just happens the way it happens. Still, I think there's a whole book in the year leading up to her wedding -- and the fact that it's glossed over in a matter of pages makes me think that, as wide-open as this memoir seems to be, she's still keeping the most intimate details, the ones that really matter, close to her heart.