Author: Nicole Hardy
Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin is not a book I would generally have picked up for myself, which is often the case with books I review and it has turned out to be quite a good thing. A lot of the books I wouldn’t have chosen for myself are ones that I have really enjoyed and this is one of them, largely because it’s a memoir I think.
Often when we read we like to lose ourselves in a world created by someone else, that is simply not possible here because we know that this story has not come from an imagination. All of the events and situations we read about are things that Nicole Hardy had to work through, often feeling very much alone. I found myself trying to put myself in her shoes, imagine myself in her place, and it was something I could not do. My experiences are so far from hers that there was no frame of reference to even begin to understand the life she has led.
I am not a religious person and didn’t grow up with an indepth understanding of any of the religions so it was interesting to read about the Mormon Church from an inside perspective that was also far removed from me personally. This wasn’t doorknockers trying to convince me of anything, it wasn’t anything being thrust upon me, it was a way for me to look inside while remaining completely removed from the reality of it.
Nicole Hardy grew up devout and committed to her faith in the Mormon Church, always waiting for what was to come next. The further she got into her thirties the harsher her faith seemed to judge her, hence the more stifling and suffocating it became.
In Nicole’s own words, in her candid manner and flowing prose, we are taken inside her life and her experiences, her struggles and her challenges to see how she navigates the world as a single, independent 30-something Mormon.
Regardless of the fact that our lives are worlds apart Nicole managed to capture my attention and draw my into her struggle, and her transformation. I had to know how how it would all end – what would win, body or soul?
The basis of Nicole’s story is religion, her faith, her religious upbringing and the trials she faced for being different. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find that the book was very preachy and the religion very in your face but this was not the case at all. There was, understandably, a lot of information about the Mormon religion but it was all relevant to Nicole’s story and shared as a part of her experiences so I found it to be a lot more intriguing than I expected.
The Latter-Day Saints believe in abstinence until marriage; which is fine if you marry very early to become a wife and mother and fulfill your purpose in life. But what happens if you don’t find someone you want to spend your life with, if you don’t feel that need to marry and procreate? For how long can you listen to happily married people, with a healthy sex life, tell you that sex isn’t everything? Is it really a case of you don’t miss what you never had? OR is it more a case of always wanting what’s just out of reach?
Nicole takes us with her as she faces the well meaning members of her church who try to comfort her with platitudes, as she navigates the dating world both within the church and without and as she finds things getting more and more difficult the older she gets.
I would recommend Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin simply for the inside look at a life so very different from anything I could even fathom. Nicole Hardy is a very courageous woman to not only have survived her trials, but to have thrived as well, and then to have shared these experiences with the entire world.