I came across a podcast a few months back where the hosts interviewed Nicole Hardy, author of Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin. Hardy was asked to read the prologue to her book, which I found so compelling that I decided to listen to the full audiobook, performed by Hardy herself.
I find book reviews a bit odd. I’ve purchased books based on recommendations from friends which, a few chapters in, wondered what I had done. I’ve come to rely on Kim to tell me about books she enjoyed before investing in the audiobook. But this time it was me who recommended Hardy’s book to Kim.
Hardy was raised by Mormon parents who expected her to follow the path they traveled: maintain the values of the LDS church while finding companion to marry, ideally at a young age. She attended BYU where she makes friends, but doesn’t find a husband. So she goes off in search of adventure selling peanuts for the Chicago Cubs and scuba diving with friends in exotic locations, thinking maybe a man will come along if she’s not actively searching for one.
Hardy finds it difficult to meet men who share her same religious beliefs, and those men she meet outside the church, don’t fully understand her desire to save sex until marriage. She struggles to comes to terms with what she’s been told all her life by her parents and church leaders and what she experiences into her mid 30s.
Some of the most compelling passages are when Hardy describes her frustration with how her church treats unmarried women in their 30s. She wonders if she has a place in the church. Her mom tries to console her by saying God will have someone prepared for her in the next life if she’s unable to find a suitable mate while on earth.
The interactions with her parents are heartbreaking at times. I’ve also struggled with wanting to be forthcoming with my parents while respecting their beliefs, but wanting to live an honest life.
You don’t need to be Mormon to enjoy her journey. I’m glad I came across her book when I did.
Note: The New York Times published Hardy’s essay which resulted in the book deal.