Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin: A Memoir

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Overview

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 ...

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Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin: A Memoir

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this captivating memoir, poet and essayist Hardy recounts her efforts to reconcile the tenets of her Mormon upbringing with her evolving personal identity. She decides to leave the church at age 35, having long questioned the rules it prescribes for women. Taking stock of her life in her mid-20s, Hardy writes, “All six of my best college friends are married. My brother is married. Every Mormon girl in my high school class, and probably two or three below me, is married.” As she wrestles with her sexuality, religious choices, and the search for a husband, she also travels, takes up salsa dancing, moves to Grand Cayman island, and falls in love with scuba diving. Hardy is ambivalent toward having children—an ambivalence that is nearly unheard of in the church. “I’ve never met an LDS woman who has chosen to be childless, the same way I’ve never met an LDS woman who has chosen not to marry.” Hardy also pursues her love of writing by obtaining an M.F.A. from Bennington. Her memoir is a candid, insightful account of her struggle to find peace with herself. Agent: Susan Golumb, Susan Golumb Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Suzanne Morrison
"Nicole Hardy is a bold, hilarious writer with a winning story to tell. In Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin, she takes us inside a religious culture she deeply respects, one that gave her a happy childhood and a loving family, but which, as she grows, demands that she squeeze her larger-than-life personality into a petite, conventional gender role. Her struggle between trying to be the woman her community expects her to become and her growing conviction that she must be herself, is one I won't soon forget. This is a book full of love, heartache, courage and adventure, and the terrors and thrills of claiming your one life."
Booklist
"[An] achingly candid memior"
From the Publisher
"Nicole Hardy is a bold, hilarious writer with a winning story to tell. In Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin, she takes us inside a religious culture she deeply respects, one that gave her a happy childhood and a loving family, but which, as she grows, demands that she squeeze her larger-than-life personality into a petite, conventional gender role. Her struggle between trying to be the woman her community expects her to become and her growing conviction that she must be herself, is one I won't soon forget. This is a book full of love, heartache, courage and adventure, and the terrors and thrills of claiming your one life."—Suzanne Morrison, author of Yoga Bitch

"Candid and insightful [a] captivating memior"—Publisher's Weekly

"[An] achingly candid memior"—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
A poet and essayist's candid account of how she came to painful terms with her sexuality and her Mormon faith. Growing up in the Mormon Church, Hardy (This Blonde, 2009, etc.) learned early on that the only "right way to live" was by following Mormon doctrine. She also learned that, as a woman, a home, babies and a "hot dad" of a husband were the three most important things she could aspire to have. Unlike the Mormon girls she knew, though, Hardy wanted time to live life on her own terms before committing to the eternal partnership promised by an LDS marriage. But she faced two problems. With every year that passed, the pool of available Mormon men grew smaller, and any males she dated outside the church were more likely to expect sex from her. Tormented by efforts to keep "[her] body separate from [her] spirit," Hardy sought release from desire in the sexy rhythms of salsa and flirtations that sometimes led to more than she bargained for. Meanwhile, she fumbled her way through a series of unconsummated relationships throughout her 20s and 30s. Despite the endless sexual frustrations and the despair into which she eventually sank, the author still found the beginnings of the personal fulfillment for which she longed in teaching, travel and writing poetry. It wasn't until she was over 35 that Hardy finally renounced celibacy and broke away from the church. To her credit, she still managed to maintain respect for the imperfect and often contradictory system that, though unable to completely accept or understand her need for independence, still "taught [her] so much about integrity and love." A searching, sensual celebration of one woman's struggle for identity and autonomy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401341862
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 8/20/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 280,945
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicole Hardy is a poet and essayist who lives in Seattle and works as a waitress and teacher. She is the author of two poetry collections published by Main Street Rag: Mud Flap Girl's XX Guide to Facial Profiling, which was a finalist in MSR's 2006 chapbook contest, and This Blonde, a full-length collection published in 2009. She earned her MFA at the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and was nominated for a 2007 Pushcart Prize.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    It's been two weeks since I finished this story and it has staye

    It's been two weeks since I finished this story and it has stayed with me in every possible delicious way. I find myself thinking of a moment or story from time to time and almost wanting to know even more than Nicole already so charismatically and vulnerably shared. I'm also telling everyone I know with a pulse to get this. You don't even have to read it! I bought the book and then realized I had a two-day road trip coming up so I purchased the audio book as well and basically had the 
    best two day road trip I've ever had. We were mesmerized by the story, the guts, the way Nicole pulled us so deeply into her struggle in a beautiful, artfully funny and heartbreaking way. I feel blessed to have heard the story in her own voice as well, the resonance added to the journey is exquisite. This book, the author, her words and story have touched me in a myriad of ways and I can't wait for the movie and I can't wait for more from Nicole!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2013

    "I like to get people laughing, and then punch them in the

    "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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2013

    Interesting, thought provoking memoir.  There are so many people

    Interesting, thought provoking memoir.  There are so many people that I think need and should read this book.  
    It helps you realize that you are not alone in your struggles others are going through the same thing the subject
    matter may just be a little different.  This is a memoir of one woman's coming of age when her age is her downfall
    It also helps you realize that sidelong comments may NOT always be as helpful as you think. Oh and keep the 
    tissues close.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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