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2.98  ·  Rating Details ·  509 Ratings  ·  96 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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Jan 07, 2013 Kiley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Nov 30, 2015 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: smut, hot-sex, 2015
This has been on my list ever since Jezebel suggested it to those who want to "start a brawl at your book club." And I get it now! This one guy pees on a lady! I bet book clubs went batshit!

But it's about Hegel as much as it's about vaginas, which weirdly makes this my second book in two weeks to discuss his Master-slave dialectic, which I still don't really get. The book, anyway, is about dominance and submission and resistance. And also porn, which 16-year-old protagonist Myra enjoys describin
Jan 05, 2013 Chantale rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Beverly Akerman
Dec 31, 2012 Beverly Akerman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 12, 2012 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 14, 2012 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canlit
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...
Jun 10, 2012 Andrew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa Nikolits
May 17, 2012 Lisa Nikolits rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Oct 03, 2012 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Patrick Brown
Nov 08, 2012 Patrick Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2012
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
Rachel Gopal
Dec 19, 2013 Rachel Gopal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
May 15, 2012 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Sep 23, 2013 Ami rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
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
Apr 17, 2014 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 10, 2013 Ryan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2015 Chaserrrr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never have I been so riveted and, by the end, so utterly conflicted by a novel. I imagine if Kathy Acker were still with us she would sleep with this book safely tucked beneath her pillow or clutched to her chest whilst fulfilling her most taboo sexual impulses. It's a challenging and risky page turner that perversely thrilled, terrified, and ultimately haunted me. Smut of the highest order. Welcome to Philosophical Porn Studies 101 where Professor Tamara Faith Berger ravenously awaits your pola ...more
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 23, 2012 Janet Berkman rated it liked it  ·  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:
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.
Jul 07, 2015 Kara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2015
I read this story on a whim without knowing anything about it. Jezebel put out a 2015 Summer Reading List and their entire blurb for this book was:

This was BY FAR the most divisive, controversial novel my book club read this year. There was actually screaming at our meetup.

So I wanted to find out why. This was probably my first mistake, as I feel it's a little unfair of me to rate this so low when, had I known what it was about, I probably wouldn't have read it?

Maidenhead is about sixteen year
Aug 05, 2013 Heidy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back of the book

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 learn he lives with Gayl, a secretive and violent woman with a strange power over him. Myra and her family re
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Emily Books: August pick! 2 50 Sep 25, 2012 11:41AM  
  • Magnified World
  • Polyamorous Love Song
  • Lightning Rods
  • Some Great Idea: Good Neighbourhoods, Crazy Politics and the Invention of Toronto
  • The Complete Lockpick Pornography
  • Border Bride (Border Trilogy I, #1)
  • Take It Off! The Naked Truth About Male Strippers
  • Extraordinary
  • In Our House: Perception Vs Reality
  • The Search
  • Starstruck Romance and Other Hollywood Tails: A Second Acts Novel
  • Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead
  • Malarky
  • Ticknor
  • Man V. Nature
  • Traplines
  • Empathy
  • Enslaved (Enslaved Trilogy, #1)
Tamara Faith Berger has published three novels: Lie With Me (2001), The Way of the Whore (2004) and Maidenhead (2012). Her first two novels were recently re-published as Little Cat (2013). She has been published in Taddle Creek, Adult and Apology magazine. Her work has been translated into Spanish and German. Tamara won the Believer Book Award for Maidenhead. She lives in Toronto.
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“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.”
“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
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