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2.87 of 5 stars 2.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,371 ratings  ·  129 reviews
A sensational and accomplished novel that made its young author one of the most talked about in Britain last year, Pure is about fourteen -- the age when you know everything, except when you don't know anything. It's about first love and the end of innocence in all its passion and absurdity. It's about the raw transition between loving your parents as a child and understan ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 15th 2000 by Grove Press (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,503)
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Apr 27, 2007 Erin rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
I read this book in high school and I have never so vigilantly begged other people not to read a book- but the damn title seems to be too alluring to pass up.

Obviously it's been years since I have read it, so I don't feel fully qualified to comment on the quality of the writing, but the story and situations are consistently sad, eerily violent, and filled with dissatisfaction and unhappiness. By the time you reach the end it feels like many bad things happened yet nothing much really happened a
Sheryl Steines
This won't be a typical book review. It actually won't be a book review at all. It wasn't one of those experiences that I would jump up and down and scream, YOU MUST READ THIS!

I talked to you last week about some censorship issues forming between Pay Pay and Smashwords and as a result, my friend Pavarti has issued a Questionable Book Challenge, that I accepted. The first book I read was Pure by Rebbecca Ray. Like I said, I'm not going to review this book in the traditional sense, rather, I'm goi
AJ LeBlanc
This one is hard to rate. On one hand it’s a powerful and painful snapshot of what happens when parents suck and a girl has no outlet to create her identity. I really responded to the girl’s emotional blankness and how she wants everything to be perfect, but keeps herself detached from everything that happens to her. I’m also impressed that Ray was sixteen when she started writing it.

It’s not the type of book that you can say you liked because so many horrible things happen, but it’s the type o
Jul 29, 2007 Addie rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one.
I've never willingly thrown a book away. But this one went straight into the garbage can as soon as I finished it. (Why did I finish it?!) And I didn't just give it away like I normally might because a). I didn't want anyone else to have to endure it, and b). I was that upset about how much of my time this book had stolen out of my life. What a terrible book. I guess I just hoped eventually it would get better...that it had to...
I loved this book; I love that the author was like 17 when she started writing it. It's a little clunky and the ending left something to be desired, but hey, who needs perfection?

**Update** Wow, I just saw Pure listed on the "Unpopular" shelf; it appears I am among four others who actually LIKED this book. What spectacularly poor ratings! In retrospect...I still really like this book. I didn't find it boring, nor did I think the writing sucked. And honestly, I thought that, given her tender age,
Susie Q
For the love of all that is holy - DO NOT read this book.

I have never said this about a book before, this being my one and only BAD review, but I did not find one redeeming quality in this book.

Aside from the super creepy "ick factor" of having parents that are "OK" with their 13 year old daughter dating someone twice her age, I had many issues with this book.
Although many people have what is oft-labeled a "dysfunctional" family nowadays, this family takes the cake. Their relationships are so
While at the shore with some friends, we picked up this book in a used book store. Judging by the cover, we thought it would be a light, chicklit book perfect for the beach. Even the summary on the back made it seem interesting and also somewhat innocent. As soon as my friend and I began taking turns reading the chapters, we soon realized that this book was far from a happy, romantic chicklit and far from any young adult book we have ever read, and not in a good way.

Ultimately, this book is abou
Nobilis Reed
This book never really caught my imagination. I managed to get about 2/3 of the way through it, but I never felt like I really had to finish.

This is basically a slice-of-life narration by a fairly ordinary British teenager. She has a family, they're quirky. She has a boyfriend, and then another one, each of them are quirky. They have quirky sex. She has a best friend, she's quirky. They're all quirky, all about evenly so. It all ends up being a kind of background noise of eccentricity that fails
I haven't read Lolita but I suspect this follows the same path, only that it is from the 14-year-old protagonist that we follow the story. I say that because the teenage girl, whose name we never know, has this disturbing relationship with a 27, I mean 31, year old man who obvs has some issues in life, given he seems to be a pedophile and an alcoholic. The flow, regardless that Rebbecca Ray wrote it when she was only 17 and has had not much of ~GREAT writing experience, wasn't too painful to rea ...more
As a 14 year old British girl myself, living in a very much similar type society as the protagonist (whose name we never know...I actually questioned if this was somewhat based on Ray's on life but I doubt it) I can say I found this book somewhat lovely. So pure, an innocent girl, mixing with a so much older man. The things she says, and the things all the characters say, they're so so so familiar to me...such common 'British' language, I guess, which made it all the more relatable for me.

Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
I really can't remember how or why I decided that this is a book I should read? Perhaps I read reviews of it recently? I don't remember. On a whim, I decided to choose a random book off my shelves to read and my hand landed on this one. I knew from the outset that it was a book with a very inappropriate relationship between a 14 year old girl and a 27 year old man and that I would struggle with reading about such a thing, but I found that I struggled with a lot more than that as well. This isn't ...more
Katie French
I feel compelled to write a review on this harrowing novel and I'm not sure why.

I first picked up the book at a charity shop at the age of seventeen and to be frank it horrified me and I avoided the book for five years.

I re-read it again more recently and still found it harrowing but also very interestingly written. As an English student you would think I would notice the narrative voice didn't have a name however I didn't until I read another review.

It is not a cheery coming-of-age tale and
Pavarti Tyler
I first read Pure when I was working in a used bookstore in Brooklyn. It was around when the book first came out and I was able to get my hands on a Galley Copy. I remember shirking all responsibility at the shop the day I found it in the New Arrival's section. It needed to be shelved, much like the other titles it had been packaged with, but I was too engrossed to bother with working that day.

At the time I was reading a lot of dirty literature and from the title I thought this was going to be a
I was Curious to see if this book was as bad as people said it was. And it definately was. It was okay at some points but most of the time I found it really boring as well as disturbing. I had to really force myself to read it. It wasn't very well written either. Safe to say I just didn't like it.
I read this book when I was about 14. And I think....that maybe I shouldn't have.
It was a great book. Don't get me was just maybe a little more than my 14 year old mind needed.
Or maybe it was just right.
Growing up in the backwoods bible belt of southern Illinois knowing I was gay and being driven to and from church on Sundays wasn't exactly the best time. But this book (while written with some very strange maybe a little too British humor) made me realize other teenagers fuck up too,
Kiah Boo
This book is definitely not for the weak. It is raw. I judged this book by its cover initially and knew it would be raw. But what I liked most about it was the style of writing. The nameless main character talked about things we only talk about in our heads for milliseconds in time. Her descriptions of feelings of pain and pleasure made me feel like I was experiencing it myself. The book took me took me to a very dark place but also made me feel blessed for anything I had made it through. I thor ...more
The title is the only alluring aspect of this book. That's what seemed to attract me to it. I thought it might be a bit adventerous and when I opened to the first page I felt my mouth drop. It's full of completely unexpected actions. This might be another reason I continued to read it despite the fact I didn't have much of a connection with it. It's lingo also gets a bit in the way. However, the ideas of the book were good. I believe the author just couldn't pull it off. It was a waste of money. ...more
I haven't wanted to think about this book because while I liked it and identified with it, every other review I've read has completely trashed it. Not for any of the usual reasons like plot inconsistencies or unconvincing characters. I really got the impression that the reviewers just didn't like the idea that this was the experiences some of us had as young women. They hated the book, but it seemed that really, they hated the protagonist (and the author because it was supposed to be autobiograp ...more
Louise Beilby
I read this book some time ago, but I thought about it again the other week when I overheard a disturbing conversation on a train and I wanted to come on here and see what other reviewers had thought of it.

I'm glad that I wasn't alone in finding this a really unpleasant piece of writing. No need to rehash what the controversial part is, but for me, one of the nastiest parts is the fact that the protagonist's parents are obviously in an emotionally abusive relationship, with the father constantly
Kate Moore
Never have I read a book whose back cover was such a bad description.
The story is depressing, certainly, but that in and of itself doesn't necessarily make it a bad book. What makes it a bad book is that nothing ever changes. There is no character growth or change. Nothings is really different at the end of the book than at the beginning; except maybe things are a bit worse. There is plenty of interpersonal conflict, but zero conflict between the characters and their goals. In fact none of the
A really poor book, but a great insight into the lives of the bourgeois creative classes in Great Britain and their massive contradictions. Coming from a similar rural background in Britain I could relate to some of the things she describes. The people you read about while obviously fictitious are a true reflection of what really goes on behind closed doors in the houses of Britain. My only question to her is has the peodophile that her parents seemed so happy to let date their daughter been que ...more
Melissa Hyndman
This is an amazing coming of age story of the pressure to fit in with other teens, smoking and alcohol, domestic relationships, sex and of course, falling in love with and older man.

This was one of those 'must not put down' books. It's a very easy read and I could relate to some of the things mentioned in the book.

It is a truly amazing book and I would definitely recommend it if you like young adult boots. Rebbecca Ray excelled herself in this book.
Lorena Walker
I hated the protaginist-thought she was mentally off and stupid! There is not much I could say about this book. I could have not finished it and I don't know if I am glad I did. I got nothing special from it, felt nothing from it-just a little weirded out... this is normally my type of book and I would have given it 3 stars if the ending were even good or had some kind of closure, or even a point but it did not!
Ashley Scott
It wasn't even the context or the material that I found hard to handle - it wasn't too much or too graphic - it was just … badly written. It could have been better executed and taken to another level. It had potential to be interesting, and it sadly was not.
This book was absolutely dreadful. My copy is called A Certain Age, not "Pure", and the blurb is slightly different, but it's clearly the same book. It's the story of an intensely horrid teenage girl who has a very...odd relationship with her father, and basically just goes about letting dudes feel her up while she does drugs and pretends to be friends with a girl whilst being a huge bitch to her.

It was infuriating, because the book went absolutely nowhere. Nothing was resolved at the end. Chara
Rachel Leduc
This book is so weird. There were many interesting things that kept me reading, but it kept building to some sort of climax that ultimately fell flat for me.
I was very angry at the ending and complained about it to friends, but I found myself reading it again. It was one of those feelings when you watch a movie and no matter how familiar you are with it, there is a glimmer of hope something will turn out differently. That is the feeling I have had with this book. I just recently put it in a pil
Bianca Guiteau
Immediately when I read the synopsis of this novel I knew I was going to enjoy it...

"'I lost my virginity to a twenty-five year-old man. And on a schoolnight, too.' Sex with an older man, parents who don't understand, politics in the playground, blowjobs behind the bike-sheds, skinning up in the schoolyard. It's what happens when you reach a certain age. Just the hormones kicking in. We've all been there...haven't we? "A Certain Age" is a reality behind the problem pages. It's what a just 17 nev
Mo Ibrahim

Ray's A CERTAIN AGE: 14-Year-Old Loses Virginity to 31-Year-Old

The back cover of the novel A Certain Age by 17-year-old Rebecca Ray reads "When I was fourteen I lost my virginity to a twenty-seven-year-old man. And on a school night too."

However, at the age of 11, before the unnamed submissive protagonist lost her virginity to Oliver, who turned out to be 31, she used to pretend that her best friend was raping her, which counter-intuitively isn
Hannah (Well-Thumbed)
*Sorry if its a shit review but I finished it at 1 am and some of the stuff is fuzzy.*

I finished this book last-night after 1 am. I knew it was a young girl falling in love with an older man when I wanted to read it, but this book is 404 pages of nothing but this girls life; Ray doesn't even give her a name. Maybe to show that this could happen to anyone.

She started letting guys feel her up when she was 13. Shes almost 14 and all she wants for her birthday is a stereo, like Dawn (one of her past
I hated how dysfuntional this story was.


When I was reading this I was constantly questioning the parenting, or lack thereof.
I hated how they just let their daughter date a man so much older than her, it's peadophillia. Disturbing.
On top of that, alcoholic.

I just couldn't wait to get to the end, hoping ANYONE would come to their senses and kick this guy out on his a***. But it never happened.
The only one with any sense was Dawn.

Okay, so. Original anger about this story over.
Now, let
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Rebbecca Ray was born in 1979, to dope smoking, goat-rearing, hippy artist parents, in the most rural area of Mid Wales. Home life and school life held great disparities and produced a precocious, ambitious teenager. But a love of words and ideas didn't prove enough to counter a problem with authority or the tendency towards a rocky personal life and Ray left school at 17, to produce her first nov ...more
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“I was about thirteen when I started letting boys feel me up.” 3 likes
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