Sunday, October 14, 2012

Virgins

You know how I like to do book reviews but pull in a little of my own life experience, right? Well here's a doozy.

Virgins - Caryl Rivers


For the seniors at Immaculate Heart High, hormones jousted with the quest for the State of Grace, and the hormones usually won.  The Map of Forbidden Sexual Delights extended its boundaries nightly in the back seats of tail-finned cars. But the girls of Virgins also wanted more. Who could they grow up to be in a word where women were supposed to be seen, but not heard?  They were rebels with a cause, before their time. But growing up anytime is hard—finding, and losing first loves, discovering who you will be as a grownup. It’s a universal experience, one that readers of all ages can relate to. As the Atlanta Constitution says, it is “A novel that is fun, funny, bittersweet and always touching… because Rivers writes with such clarity of purpose and spontaneity, anyone at all can enjoy Virgins.” And they can laugh and cry as they read. Critics called it “brilliantly comic” (London Times)  “Riotously funny” (Library Journal) and showing “sharp comic form” (New York Times Book Review) As the Chicago Tribune says, the book “Rings with authenticity—and also from a great store of wit and wisdom. Few other writers are as funny as she, and none funnier. Yet she is capable of wrenching your heart and soul.” The kids of Virgins—Peg, Sean, Con, Davy—will stay with you long after you close the book on their hijinks and heartbreak. One Amazon reader says “I read this book when I was 17. I’m now 40 and this book still makes me laugh until tears are running down my face.  It’s a once in a lifetime read about coming of age that every older teen should read.” And another said, “If my life had a bibliography, this book would be on it. I love it. I read it first as a teenager, and revisit it regularly when I need a pick-me-up. It is one of the funniest, most touching, most wonderful books that I have ever discovered.” Virgins is a timeless classic tale of growing up, one that readers can discover and re-discover all over again.
OK. So let's talk about how I lost my virginity because I'd like to think most everyone's first time is kind of awkward and horrible. At least, just lie to me and say that's true. 
It was a Saturday in October, I had been dating the boy for a few months and we had been engaged for a few of them. No, I'm not joking. I was also 17 and stupidly fell for the "we're engaged so we may as well" argument. Ah... young love. 
It was his parent's house, he was a few years older than me, and we thought we were alone. Nine Inch Nails "The Great Below" was playing, a candle was lit, it was all supposed to woo me when really, I was so nervous I almost threw up. I also fell for the "he's a virgin too" line and when I look back at it now I think I must have been a true idiot at age 17. I mean, an absolute idiot. It lasted all of a solid minute because his brother started banging on the door like the house was on fire. It was painful, he wasn't exactly graceful, and basically told me to walk it off afterwards. As he's getting his brother to leave, I'm totally getting myself dressed and I really just wanted to go home and die quietly but no. We walked around his neighborhood for awhile and the entire time I wondered what the hype was about. That was totally lame and not worth it at all. Thankfully, Matt eventually came along and then I totally understood why people become whores- it's awesome. When done correctly. 
But let's talk about the book. It was just kind of meh for me. I really expected it to be hilarious and bring me back to my high school days. Unfortunately, I did not go to a Catholic high school so when I think of hilarity and hijinks, I think of people grinding dirty at school dances and having sex in parent's garages or on teacher's cars. Which none of which was featured in this book. A Catholic school girls version of scandalous is much different from mine. And not going to lie, the entire time I'm reading this book all I could picture was the movie Grease and I expected people to bust out in song and dance as they shimmy in their poodle skirts. 
I also don't remember anyone being that sex crazed in high school? I mean, I'm sure there were a few- but when I look back at what high school was like for me, most of my friends were kind of scared. None of us were trying to rush into it and then when they heard about my craptastic time, I'm sure their boyfriends were less than impressed to be shot down. 
I struggled to finish the book and when I did? I'm sitting here holding my Nook feeling like I was just really let down. I didn't laugh once during the entire story, I had a hard time relating or even liking most of the characters and I don't think girls in this generation would really get it. Now, if you were older than me, say in your 40's or 50's? It might make more sense to you but it's just very different from what a teenage girl's life is like now. Or even 15 years ago. 
Don't you dare solely rely on my review, definitely check out what others are saying HERE. I posted this review on GoodReads as well and it's a pretty mixed bag over there, but I've seen quite a few who loved the book. So maybe you'll end up loving it and you can tell me I'm a moron and totally wrong. 

3 comments:

trish said...

Thanks for being on the tour!

heathertlc said...

"it's awesome. When done correctly." Exactly. :)

spitzspeak said...

Hi! I really enjoyed reading your own narrative in this post. But I'm sorry you didn't particularly love Virgins. I thought it was hilarious and engaging. If you're interested, here's a link to my review: http://drennanspitzer.com/2012/10/23/blog-tour-virgins-by-caryl-rivers-review/