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2.97 of 5 stars 2.97  ·  rating details  ·  367 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Myra, naive and curious, is on a family vacation to the southernmost tip of Florida – a mangy Key West full of Spring Breakers. Here, suffering through the embarrassments of a family on the verge of splitting up, she meets Elijah, a charismatic Tanzanian musician who seduces her at the edge of the tourist zone. Myra longs to lose her virginity to Elijah, and is shocked to ...more
ebook, 200 pages
Published April 2012 by Coach House Books
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I read Maidenhead a week and a half ago and still haven't stopped thinking about it. It's a provocative book destined to have many haters; it is the antithesis of all that feminism stands for because of the female protagonist's masochistic exploits and the upsetting violence she willingly submits to; it is just well-written porn ... and yet. It is also the work of a gifted and bold author writing whatever she wants to, as un-PC as it may be — and isn't that feminism, too? It is an assertion that ...more
On vacation in Key West with her family 16 year-old Myra undergoes a sexual awakening which starts with a brief encounter with an older Tanzinian man who tries to masturbate with her. Upon returning home Myra's parents marriage dissolves and her Mom moves to Korea to teach English. Myra starts to explore pornography and changes friends. She discovers that she enjoys masochism and contemplates the slave and master relationship in a year-end essay for school.

Suspend your belief as Elijah and his
I hated my mother and my father. I was bored with Jen. I wanted to watch porn. I’d found this website for free, it was a service or something that delivered these video clips to your inbox. They were a minute, sometimes more, of these girls getting fucked, like what I saw in Key West but even more extreme, with headings like: asschick, teenwhore, slutgettingcock. Jeff had bawled at the door when the taxi arrived for my mom. Jody gave my mom a massive hug. My father hid out in the basement alone. ...more
Luisa Fer
Quill and Quire mentioned it as one of the best books of 2012 and I didn't wait two seconds before borrowing it from the library. I was one of the infortunate souls whose curiosity got hijacked by the the fifty shades of shit so I was motivated to read on the same subject told from a superior intelligence.
Interesting narrative form, intriguing, mysterious and original I was satisfied with the book until about halfway through the story. At one point I could no longer believe Myra's age or person
Because this book has high literary aspirations and a Coach House pedigree, my initial thought was that I "just didn't get it" but it is, in fact, a profound and meaningful story. On further reflection, I remember that I'm reasonably intelligent and decide that this book is really sophomoric crap disguised as profound sexual exploration. And really unsatisfying sex -- dirty (as in unhygenic), abusive, exploitative, unsatisfying sex. With poorly formed stereotypes as characters. So overall, I did ...more
Beverly Akerman
pointless exercise in racist, smutfilled degradation, made all the worse by its literary pretensions. quotes on slavery & dialectics used like renaissance painters' names in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. a more authentic take on coming-of-age teenage girl sexuality can be found in Dirty Dancing (and i'm not kidding!)

Tamara Faith Berger, stick to porn writing. Coach House Books: what were you thinking?

apparently lauded by The National Post and Quill & Quire, which i guess goes to show the
I really love Tamara Faith Berger's work. When I read her first book "Lie with Me" more than ten years ago, I remember feeling grateful. It proved to me that it was okay to write about anything I wanted, be it sexual, deviant, dark or just plain odd. Maidenhead is intelligent quirky smut at it's best. A highly stimulating read...
So. We spend 175 pages wallowing in a violent, porn-fueled fantasy world. The main character gets beaten to a pulp (but doesn't particularly mind) and then a group of high-school kids use their reading of Hegel and George Bataille to debate whether it's degrading or not. Really.
Lisa Nikolits
Read Maidenhead by Tamara Faith Berger and while this certainly isn’t a book that everyone will love or embrace, I was enthralled.

Sixteen-year-old Myra’s fascinated exploration of pornography and the slave/master relationship coincides with the breakdown of her parent’s marriage; her world is being rearranged around her while she struggles to find her voice and self identity.

The nihilation of familial stability comes at a time of vulnerability; Myra is alone – her mother has gone to Seoul and
Nenia Campbell
You can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I applied for and got approved for this by netgalley.


Our protagonist (I feel funny calling her that because at no point in the story was I rooting for her at any point in this story) is Myra from Canada. She is sixteen-years-old.(Keep this in mind as it will be significant considering the gratuitous amount of sex in this story.)The story starts out with Myra and her family vacationing
Patrick Brown
I had read a review of this that called it "Fifty Bajillion Shades of Grey," and while I only read the first few pages of Fifty Shades, I can see the similarities. Both are erotic concerned with female sexuality and control and freedom and how that sexuality manifests itself. There are probably other similarities, but not having made it far into the one book, I can't elaborate on them, but I'm going to guess that E.L. James never busts out the Hegel in her book.

Maidenhead is the story of Myra, a
Sep 19, 2014 Eileen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I had no interest in reading Fifty Shades of Grey but when I read a glowing review for this book in The National Post and my co worker saw it on CBC, I decided to give it a try.
This book is beyond disturbing and creepy and I am baffled how it can be described as "hot" or even remotely erotic. Violence and sex or sexual acts do no go together and should not be portrayed as acceptable or natural. It is one thing if a couple is into S&M which is consensual and it is another when a 16 year old
No. No. No. No. No.

You just can't write about rape as if it was okay, you know? Because, flash news, rape is SO NOT okay.
The storyline is so awful and creepy and disgusting and disturbing and... Oh my god, I want to bitch slap the author.

Lets just burn this on a big pire and pretend this wasn't ever published.
Rachel Gopal
This is not the book you would want to read and write an essay about for your summative assignment for English class.

Personally, I found it repulsive and I did not like Myra (the protagonist) at all. On that note, I did not like any of the characters.

Looking at it in terms of theories, a Feminism or Marxism lens would be useful but I do not think this genre is one of my preference.
This book felt like a combination of an undergraduate paper on power dynamics and politics, and a BDSM novel, but not in a good way. I didn't feel that the long italicized sections on the Hegelian master/slave dialectic really contributed to the story, and the plot jumped all over the place.
Marquetta (LoveToReadForFun)
I will admit that I decided to read this book because the title intrigued me. With the title Maidenhead, a book is sure to grab your attention. Unfortunately this book did not work for me on so many levels and after reading 37%, I had to put it down. I have no idea what the author was trying to accomplish with this book. Whatever it was, it went completely over my head.

I didn't get or understand this book at all. Maidenhead is told in the 1st person POV (Myra) and it's written like it's stream o
I'm about 3/4 of the way through this book and can't. take. anymore. I am so confused about which stance this book is taking and the characters are soooo unlikeable. It's rare that there isn't one single character in a book that you like/route for. Half the time I feel like this book is trying to portray a feminist or anti-slavery message and the other half I feel like it is trying to support abuse, slavery AND racisim. I can't decide if I should be disgusted or if the content is just over my he ...more
I found this book to be very disturbing. The subject matter was difficult for me. Slavery and child pornography is not my usual reading matter.
While I felt I was supposed to be upset with Elijah and Gayl I was really more disappointed in Myra and her family. I understand that teenagers can be easily manipulated, but I felt that Myra went seeking trouble - and neither parent bothered to look out for her. I am not sure how a pornography show can be charged to a room without anybody noticing. Nor h
1 Star
This erotic novel was apparently “critically acclaimed”, but for the life of me I cannot figure out why. We start out with a young girl who is determined to loose her virginity. While on a family trip to a tropical location she spies this older Rastafarian man screwing another woman. From then on out all our heroine wants is this man. He follows her back to Michigan with his girlfriend and proceeds to give her an erotic education. The funny thing about this book is that no matter how much
This was a strange one. For me, strange does not necessarily mean bad, but there were parts of this book that were bad. Not badly written, just... bad feeling. This is a synaesthetic experience of a read - it's sticky and uncomfortable and hot and salty and itchy, sand-in-the-bathing-suit-bottoms uncomfortable. Myra - the teenaged protagonist on vacation with her family - is not an easy character to like. She's selfish and out-of-body; she acts like an adult woman sometimes, and so I was often t ...more
Lynn S.
May 19, 2014 Lynn S. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
I don't even know how a pristine paperback copy of this book came into my possession. I think it was used and unread, on the 'free' table at the thrift store. I admit I was taken in by the quality of the design and printing, at least enough to glance at reviews online. I never read porn, so I began with caution, planning to ditch it if it turned out to be simple whacking material.

The writing is good and Berger moves the story along, hence my two star rating. What kept me going is that I have tw
I think I should just face the fact that I really don't appreciate/like this new genre 'new adult'; this book had nothing for me to relate to and the main character (girl) didn't have any depth. She made decisions completely outside of my realm of understanding... So much so that this book became very unbelievable for me.

I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Janet Berkman
Sep 25, 2012 Janet Berkman rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janet by: review in National Post (I think)
I wanted to like this slim novel, and I kept at it. But the violence of the sex was disturbing, particularly given the main character is a 16 yo girl, desperate to lose her virginity and obsessed with porn.

Berger has some points to make and they're made, but the whole enterprise left me feeling rather soiled.
Helen McClory
Going to keep reading reviews of this, since my response is so murky...quite fitting for a book on abjection though, right? Read more of my puzzlement here:
DNF, no rating.

This was very, very weird. The inner voice of the protagonist is odd, and the constant interruptions by the two people commenting via dialogue was strange, something I've never before seen in a book.

This book was not for me.
Jacqueline Valencia
This is the most accurate portrayal of teenage girls' journey in sexuality. I encourage all women to read it. No holds barred. Very liberating. I'll eat this book up.
This book was just plain weird and at least a little gross. It was also a work of art. Not everyone appreciates all art.
Sara Jane
Don't read this book. It's terrible. It's smut that's trying to be literature, and failing. The main character is horrible, unsympathetic. I suppose I feel bad for her, she's obviously caught up in some shit, but her overall brattiness and arrogance negates any sympathy I might have for her. There were some moments in the book that I did think made some interesting points about human sexuality, but the overall vibe is mostly pretentious and nauseating. I read this book because it was recommended ...more
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Emily Books: August pick! 2 42 Sep 25, 2012 11:41AM  
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“My mother kept calling me out of myself. She wanted to show me a picture, the first picture from the slave-ship exhibition. ‘This is unbelievable,’ she said. ‘Myra, you have to see this, this is unbelievable.’ I cringed at how fast she was talking. Why unbelievable? This all actually happened! Why is this all so hard to believe?” 1 likes
“My essay had evolved into thinking about fucking. You could be raped a thousand times and still be a virgin. I was writing about fucking by a master and fucking as a slave, about Hegel, the comfort women and teenage porno stars. Ms. Bain and Mr. Rotowsky could fail me, I didn’t care. I’d pass just with the bibliography. I was compiling a list of every single book I’d read or that I wanted to read that was about power and sex. High school should have a whole fucking course on just this. I was helping the school make curriculum…

I was writing my essay, writing easily now. I didn’t have a reader anymore like Lee or Chris but I imagined that I was writing for them both. Maybe I was writing for anyone who could fucking stand me.”
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