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Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin: A Memoir

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,069 ratings  ·  206 reviews
When Nicole Hardy's eye-opening "Modern Love" column appeared in the New York Times, the response from readers was overwhelming. Hardy's essay, which exposed the conflict between being true to herself as a woman and remaining true to her Mormon faith, struck a chord with women coast-to-coast.

Now in her funny, intimate, and thoughtful memoir, Nicole Hardy explores how she c
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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I have never before read a contemporary book that captured loneliness so well. Not the typical "I wanna get married" kind of thing but the true loneliness of not fitting in at all, of not having a community that truly accepts you for who you are, of not having that soft place to fall. And even though Nicole Hardy's struggles deal with her church (Mormon) and being a single woman in that church, and also being a virgin as a result, I found myself relating.
I know what it's like to freak out when
Jul 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I really don't know how to review this book without writing a review of her life and her life's choices, because since this is a memoir it's hard not to form these opinions.

What I liked about this book:
It felt honest.
It was a story about a Mormon (I am also Mormon)
It was well written.

My 'issues' with it:
It reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love, which I also liked but I don't like seeing all the imitations of it. Someday this book might sound dated, because it is so similar to the currently popular me
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is a decent book if you enjoy memoirs of basically privileged people finding themselves. But it seems a little padded with material that isn’t quite on point for its stated subject matter, while keeping rather quiet about some of the material that is.

Nicole Hardy was raised Mormon, and overall was happy with the ordered life the church prescribed, but the older she got, the more a problem presented itself. The Mormon church is very opposed to sex before marriage, while simultaneously holdin
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastically fun read that I blazed through in two days--couldn't put it down!!! I laughed, I cried, I used Visine so I could still look presentable at work after reading all night.

It's such a refreshingly original book that I almost feel guilty at how easily I imagined a close kinship with its author. It is so much a specific tale, with a precisely unique heroine, that one could be forgiven for assuming it would read like science-fiction. It is, however, a book that manages to fully
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An interesting and enlightening take on the Mormon religion; written by a brilliant and well read author.

This story hits close to home for me. I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness since the age of 9 and never wanted anything to do with it. I'm now an atheist. Recently I've been think what would have happened if my family was baptist or something. Would I have enjoyed church and the church members? Would I believe in god now?

This book makes me wonder the same things about the author. Mormonism ha
Jennifer D. Munro
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Life of One’s Own!
This book deserves a place on the shelf next to Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and Tillie Olsen’s Silences. It’s as much about a woman choosing a creative life and having the strength to follow her dreams, rather than caving in to cultural pressure to procreate and live a prescribed female existence, as it is a meditation on sex and faith. The author is generous, compassionate, and gentle with characters such as her parents and boyfriends, which is a relief in a memoir culture
Katherine Burton
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I realize that not everyone will be interested in or be able to relate to this book, but wow, this resonated with me and made me feel so UNDERSTOOD in a way that I’ve never felt on such a fundamental level. Being Mormon myself and being single in a culture that so heavily emphasizes marriage and motherhood often has me wondering what it means to be feminine and to be a woman without acting in those roles. Cheryl Strayed once said that there’s an inherent divinity in how books allow us to experie ...more
Kara of BookishBytes
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Ms. Hardy's memoir describes the tension in her life between the expectations she had for love and marriage formed in her religious upbringing in the Mormon Church, and the dating and sexual experiences she had as a single adult woman which lead her to choose to leave the Church.

She never expressed a strong personal commitment to the Mormon Church beyond the fact that she had a pattern of attending church with her family; she never indicated that she found particular comfort or solace in its tea
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, 2013
Cognitive Dissonance is described as: "The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance." Nicole Hardy explores her experience with this uncomfortable state when her authentic self shows up and does not match the ideal she has been raised to believe in as part of the Mormon religion. She does ...more
May 18, 2014 added it
This was not a book I sought out. I spontaneously saw it on the new books shelf and the "Latter-Day" caught my eye.
To sum up: Sexually frustrated single Mormon Girl tries Salsa dancing and SCUBA diving.
Spoiler alert: She leaves the church and has sex.

It reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love but I didn't like it quite as well. It has all of the self-indulgent tone and almost none of the humor and charm.

I'm not giving it a star rating because I feel like if I did, it would be more of a rating of her l
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannon Stevens
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"I like to get people laughing, and then punch them in the stomach."

It's not as sadistic as it sounds, but Hardy's not foolin'; She will get you laughing, then punch you in the stomach. The thing is, you keep coming back for more because Nicole Hardy is a fantastic storyteller. With a carefully-crafted balance of wit and guts, she relates her experience in a way that is clever and charming, yet aches with stark vulnerability. Exquisitely written, and a joy to read -- Sucker punches and all.
Peggy Ganong
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are many memoirs flooding the US book market. Most strike me as contrived, unconvincing and forgettable. Not this one. It is thoughtful, candid and well written (Hardy is a poet). The story it tells is true and rings true. In some ways, it is everyone's story. Growing up means figuring out who you are and what you want in life, identifying the obstacles and contradictions, accepting that you can't have everything, and pursuing what you choose as vital. Hardy chose the writing life and the ...more
Dec 30, 2014 added it
Hmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Not sure what I think about this read. I could relate to the author--we're roughly the same age, both had wonderful faith-based childhood homes, and experienced similar BYU undergraduate educations. I have also felt at times "different" from other LDS women around me and have bristled at what I perceived as imposed expectations. Yet while my life experiences have anchored me to my faith, I see good people find genuine pain where I find solace. I so wish others could walk in m ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first third of this book was a little slow for me. Maybe because it was about her childhood and BYU experiences, which as a convert who later left Mormonism, I just didn't relate to. But the second two-thirds of this book felt more honest and real, and it captured the feeling of being trapped in a world that just doesn't fit. The story of being a 35-year old Mormon virgin may not be universal, but the author's capturing of the feelings of not being a part of a community that your world is cr ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Did not expect this one to hit as hard as it did - I don't hold *any* religious or spiritual convictions, so I expected to find myself frustrated by the author's unwavering commitment to hers even as it beat her down for years and years, but she did SUCH a good job articulating the tension between her beliefs and her desires in such a way that a reader who had ever experienced frustration or loneliness could definitely empathize. It was just so well-done - admittedly some of the flashback chapte ...more
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book resonated with me in some pretty hard ways - the desire for companionship, the desire to be wanted and loved, being in conflict with the norms of culture and one's religious community. However, that being said, thankfully, there were off-shoots where I just couldn't connect. Whereas Hardy talked about knowing only one unmarried woman in the LDS church (and she was definitely an odd bird), I have been blessed with so many examples of powerful, strong, dedicated women who are not waiting ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
Her story is not my story, and yet it is my story. Alot of women can identify with the discord that happens when ones worth is solely based on one's ability to mother. There's so much more to a woman than that. The author expresses it so well when she says, "There is no room for what I feel, what I'm drawn to, what I'm good at. My leaders tell me what my gifts are, and they're wrong. They tell me what my nature is, and they're wrong. They tell me what my purpose is, and I feel nothing."

Mar 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Wow was hoping to get a realistic view on an issue that is something I worry and want to know more about.

That being said other than the fact that this individual is a 'writer', and thus the book is not boring, there is little of value in this book other than understand a person who is looking to complain and whine from the get go. Someone who wants to blame everyone for the fact that she lives in a total unrealistic fantasy world according to her snotty view on living a religion. She is a snob a
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a quick read. I can't quite say I enjoyed it but I did think it was worth reading. If you have any single LDS women in your life I think it would open your eyes to their lonliness and how the mormon culture entirely fails them. I found myself feeling so sad for the author. Unable to find happiness for so long. Would be a great book for a book club. I was so glad that she finally just made a choice and embraced it. To me it didn't matter what she chose, she just needed to embrace it. Her ...more
Isla McKetta
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nicole Hardy carries her Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin from Modern Love column to memoir and teaches about love, compassion, and feminism on the way. This beautifully human book covers everything you think and all kinds of things you don't expect. Hardy helped me be courageous in my own writing and to finally write about my real, un-gussied-up self (in an essay that doubles as a book review). ...more
Erin Malone
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In this memoir, Hardy proves fearless. It's not just because she's writing about difficult subjects-- faith, sexuality, and how her identity in the Mormon church is at odds with her sense of self. She seems to approach life fearlessly. Though "virginal", she never shies away from challenge. She travels alone to exotic places, salsa dances, deep-sea dives, and lives for her art. Ultimately, her bravest act is to accept herself as she is. This is a compelling story.
Beth Lundgreen
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Loved this book and appreciated the honesty of it. Her experiences parallel my own so I found it very relatable and often found her describing feelings I've experienced but hadn't quite been able to express. I'm not sure people unfamiliar with LDS beliefs or culture can fully grasp her struggle but for those who want to get a better idea of the mid-single experience in Mormonism this is a must read.
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2013
I have such mixed feelings about this one.

It was a fast read.

While I dont think her story is at all unique (she is just one of the few to write about it) she does not really aknowledge other people's experience. In the end I kind of just felt bad for her, which I am sure was not her point.

Would love to discuss this one in a book club settting.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because I needed super light reading and between the premise (chronically single LDS lady) and a note on the jacket about Hardy's Modern Love column, I expected 300 pages of sass (and maybe a little schadenfreude). That was a gross underestimation.

Predictably, Hardy talks about sex (and its absence) at length. She also spends as much time exploring expectations of women in the Mormon church. She struggles with the teaching that women can obtain the highest level of exaltation o
Sandy Hall
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela Gottula
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've wanted to read this book since the Modern Love column years ago, and as a (celibate) divorced LDS woman, I am glad I finally read it. I loved her story. Thank you Nicole for putting into words how so many of us feel, what so many of us struggle with. My only criticisms of the book are that her Mormon doctrine points are presented as "black and white" absolutes, while many Mormons these days (including divorced singles such as myself) have transitioned to a more "gray" approach. That being s ...more
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Love her writing. She is easy to relate to: her struggles to fit the LDS mold of what a woman should be and want; finding the balance between her faith and her hopes, dreams, and desires for her life. I love that she is a strong woman who wants someone to hold her hand, wake up next to, and challenge her, but not define her. There is humor (often self-deprecating) but it isn't meant to be a humor piece.

(view spoiler)
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a beautifully written memoir. Humorous and light, yes. But Hardy also captures the anguish that comes when the cognitive dissonance becomes too much and you can no longer reconcile what you want and need with what you're supposed to want and need and you're finally forced to make a painful choice.

As someone who is pretty much in the same situation as Hardy, I felt like she was writing my own story. Her memoir is largely about making choices and following her own path, even when family, f
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a very interesting read to me. Nicole Hardy has a writing style that I very much enjoyed. She dealt with a very sensitive topic in a respectful way. I could completely relate to the way she talked about loving books and being so excited to come to class and discuss them, and I can relate to not accepting the 'traditional' role as all that is required to make a woman happy in life--and the guilt that comes with that sometimes. Her reaction to so many texts, books and movies, could h ...more
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