When my boyfriend gave me a copy of Loose Girl a couple of years ago, I was mortified and delighted. My initial reaction was something like, “Um?”
“I just thought you might like it,” he said. “You seem to be interested in that sort of thing.
He was right. I was interested.
This book isn’t my story, but it was profoundly interesting subject matter: a young girl that gives of her body rather promiscuously (almost indiscriminately).
For everyone who was that girl. For everyone who knew that girl. For everyone who wondered who that girl was. Kerry Cohen is eleven years old when she recognizes the power of her body in the leer of a grown man. Her parents are recently divorced and it doesn’t take long before their lassitude and Kerry’s desire to stand out—to be memorable in some way—combine to lead her down a path she knows she shouldn’t take. Kerry wanted attention. She wanted love. But not really understanding what love was, not really knowing how to get it, she reached for sex instead.
Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen’s captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction—not just to sex, but to male attention—Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. It didn’t matter who he was. It was their movement that mattered, their being together. And for a while, that was enough.
From the early rush of exploration to the day she learned to quiet the desperation and allow herself to love and be loved, Kerry’s story is never less than riveting. In rich and immediate detail, Loose Girl re-creates what it feels like to be in that desperate moment, when a girl tries to control a boy by handing over her body, when the touch of that boy seems to offer proof of something, but ultimately delivers little more than emptiness.
Kerry Cohen’s journey from that hopeless place to her current confident and fulfilled existence is a cautionary tale and a revelation for girls young and old. The unforgettable memoir of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love.
Kerry Cohen tells her own story in a slightly disapproving tone. It has a Happily Ever After, with a grateful ‘I don’t deserve it’ twist; I believe she is trying to save others from following her path. I gave it to another friend (Rhiannon) to read after me. “What did you think of it?” I asked her.
“I mean, it was interesting, but I didn’t really get anything out of it.”
We both agree that the book had a moralizing tone that is a bit off-putting. I suppose looking back on one’s own life has a tendency to lead to “should-haves” and “if-onlys”. If I wrote my autobiography, I’m sure it would have something of a cautionary tone to it as well. Contrasted with The Sexual Life of Catherine M., I much prefer the redemptive story. Not everyone does, I suppose.
I published this blog, and within a couple of hours, a friend texted me to say, “sorry you relate to that.” I guess I don’t, entirely: but it sure is interesting.
You can get your copy of Loose Girl here.
NOTE: I purchased all of these books for my own personal gratification, and am not being paid to endorse any of them. However, if you’d like to earn me some money, feel free to shop in my Amazon store.