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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin: A Memoir

Surprise! A memoir by a Mormon! I probably shocked your pants off. Kidding. This is Nicole Hardy's Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin

Nicole Hardy is raised by two loving, adoring parents alongside her brother in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She is a Mormon. She is raised to believe that if she keeps herself pure in all ways, including sexually, she will have eternal life with her family. She believes, and she follows, and she is determined to do it right. As she grows older and uses her teaching degree, she searches for the right husband but no one seems to want her -- a fun, feisty, creative woman who is not sure she even wants children. As Nicole moves through her twenties she quits her teaching job, pursues her career as a writer, and quits her job to move to Grand Cayman. She begins to love herself for who she is, with or without a marriage and motherhood, and the pillars of her belief system begin to make way for an expanded definition of what she can accomplish. She begins to dig deep about what she believes now, as a late thirtysomething who loves life as it is. 

I think we all know why I started this book, but I became so engrossed and finished it for a far different reason. Hardy is not just a fantastic writer, but she is willing to bare her entire soul for her readers so that they can begin to understand her life. Her faith is so much more than something that she was born into; it's the rock on which she founded her life, and the decision to move away from something that meant so much to her and grounded her every day being hurt like no other. Hardy does a brilliant job of making her reader understand why she chose to be such a devout Mormon. At a later point in the book, when somebody tries to give her a compliment by telling her how proud they were that she had moved away from the indoctrination of her childhood, I as the reader understood why she was bothered by that comment. She never thought indoctrinated; she felt home. She felt it was always her choice, and she chose what she believed was the truth. It was the moment in the book that solidified what I came to know about Hardy over the course of her memoir – that she was who she became because of her faith.

Hardy also treated this memoir in the same way I imagine she would treat her fiction. She was a character in her own story, although she was one that was so full and developed and had a gorgeous character arc. I got to know her over these pages, and I absolutely feel like I know her. In fact, the moment that she chooses to leave her church, found myself tearing up for her. She provides her reader with a piece of work that is so real and honest that it feels as though you're living with her and her life. What I loved the most about her story, though, was that she doesn't negate what she grew up believing -- she celebrates it and uses it to inform who she is now. There is no bitterness, only love. I think that's pretty awesome. 

I am only left with one question. What ever became of James?

That being said, I highly recommend this memoir to anyone and everyone who can get their hands on it. I'm only sorry that it took me many months to get to this book in my queue. I wish I picked it up much earlier, because it was an outstanding piece of work that I thoroughly enjoyed,  and it's one that will sit with me for sometime.

For purchase below. 

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