Tuesday, June 03, 2008

No time for OCD

Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity
Kerry Cohen

Like all bibliophiles, I have my pet peeves when it comes to books. One such peeve involves the dust jackets which accompany hardcover books. In general I find them annoying, and never do I read with them on -- they get all flimsy and wonky and they're just generally a pain in the ass. Needless to say, immediately upon reading a hardcover book, the first thing I do is remove the dust jacket and store it atop a bookshelf in my library. Priorities, and all that.

Beginning my review of Kerry Cohen's Loose Girl with a discussion of dust jackets is actually pretty important, and I'm going to tell you why. My copy of Loose Girl arrived in the mail yesterday, and I decided to read just the first page before putting it aside to resume my other reading. That's all it took, however. I was hooked. I read ALL of it in one sitting - and never stopped to remove the dust jacket.

Clearly, that's saying something.

I could throw around the usual adjectives -- compelling, fascinating, gripping -- but I think the fact that I didn't stop to assuage my OCD is a clear illustration of the power of Cohen's memoir.

Cohen was the girl that we all loved to gossip about. She was, to put it lightly, a bit of a slut. Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity is Cohen's attempt to explain her behavior, her all-encompassing need to feel loved that found an outlet only through sex. She doesn't play the "woe-is-me" card -- far from it. She scrutinizes (and, more importantly, owns) her behavior even as she traces its roots in her childhood and in her parents.

Written in the present tense, Loose Girl has an immediacy that allows the reader to feel exactly what Cohen was experiencing in those moments. In fact, her prose allowed (although "forced" is more apt) me to relive all the anxiety and expectation involved with the opposite sex when I was young and insecure.

Over time, Cohen comes to understand the roots of her behavior and what, exactly, she is really seeking in her encounters with men. While the majority of Loose Girl is an unflinching dissection of her loose behavior, Cohen ends on a hopeful note when she finally breaks the cycle of promiscuity and finds strength in herself, not in the attention of men.

In a nutshell: Cohen's memoir is well written and utterly fascinating. All readers (male and female alike) can surely find a piece of themselves in Loose Girl.

Bibliolatry Scale: 5.5 out of 6 stars


bibliophylia said...

That sounds like a fascinating book. I normally dislike memoirs, but I'm going to add it to my list.

Bybee said...

Must read! Thanks!

Bibliolatrist said...

I agree, bibliophylia - memoirs often fail to rock my boat as well, but this one just worked for me.

I hope you both enjoy it!