Review: Loose Girl - A Memior of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen

The Blurb: "For everyone who was that girl. For everyone who knew that girl. For everyone who wondered who that girl was. Kerry Cohen is eleven years old when she recognizes the power of her body in the leer of a grown man. Her parents are recently divorced and it doesn't take long before their lassitude and Kerry's desire to stand out--to be memorable in some way--combine to lead her down a path she knows she shouldn't take. Kerry wanted attention. She wanted love. But not really understanding what love was, not really knowing how to get it, she reached for sex instead. Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen's captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction--not just to sex, but to male attention--Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. It didn't matter who he was. It was their movement that mattered, their being together. And for a while, that was enough. Kerry Cohen's journey from that hopeless place to her current confident and fulfilled existence is a cautionary tale and a revelation for girls young and old. The unforgettable memoir of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love."
The Review: Author Kerry Cohen bares her soul in Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity, a book about the juxtaposition of sex and love and how we as humans attempt to make sense of ourselves and the people in our lives. She explores her desire, and the basis for those feelings. A good read for young women who are exploring their identity and how they relate to the opposite sex, and possibly for young men, who are attempting to understand their female counterparts. It made me consider the relationships over the course of my life, and how I have dealt with the situations over the years, from what I knew then, to what I (think I) know now.

The first half of the text is when she was in high school, the majority was from college, and Cohen is a YA author, so readers in their late teens may be able to relate, however this book is marketed for adults.

If it wouldn’t have been a memoir, I am not sure if I would have kept reading. There were moving parts to the book, but often Cohen was trying to explain through introspection why she used ‘boys’ to satisfy her need for love. It was essentially a long psychotherapy session where possibly Cohen worked out her problems on the page for ten years. Quite a bit of telling. Maybe I was looking for details. There were a lot of ‘boys’ and lists of names that really blurred together, and made the tale a little bland and generic. There were only a few instances where I could feel her fire and passion, and the rest was just washed over.

*spoiler alert*? She never really explores her past from a position of knowledge. I think it was a missed opportunity, the “I understand now, it was like this, but back then I didn’t understand…” I wanted to see and KNOW that she now understands. But maybe the need for male attention, like other types of addiction is always lurking under the surface. Her transition into the whole person she is know, is only realized in the last few pages. I wanted more.

I can see how this would appeal to certain people, maybe those who are naturally introspective, and the issues she deals with are very real.

Something Extra: Her website is excellent, and her Q & A With Kerry Cohen interview and the responses from readers are powerful. This book definitely has a strong appeal for many women. "Adolescent promiscuity is epidemic, but no one talks about why. [...] That old dichotomy of the slut and virgin is still alive and well."

Bottom Line: It takes a lot for someone to reveal themselves in this way and expose themselves to the world in such an intimate fashion. The book is worth reading for that aspect alone. Though I wanted more, it caused some deep introspection of my own life, for which I was surprised and grateful. Cohen's book opens a conversation that is long overdue.
Grade: B-