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Making Out Like a Virgin

SEX, DESIRE & INTIMACY AFTER SEXUAL TRAUMA

A valuable compilation that represents multiple paths for healing and thriving after sexual trauma.

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Sexual abuse survivors from around the world detail their journeys to healthy sexuality and bodily autonomy in this collection.

In this volume featuring 17 nonfiction essays, sexual trauma survivors describe their experiences with making out like a virgin “by encountering an altogether new way to engage in sex—one that’s emotional as well as physical.” Each author picks a particular angle from which to present his or her story while keeping within the theme of the collection. In “One Woman, Many Names,” Sally J. Laskey depicts her journey from “the Rape Lady” to “the Sex Lady” as her growing awareness of her own secondhand trauma leads her from rape crisis work toward a role as a sexuality educator. In “Freedom at My Fingertips,” Sarah Mell expresses the liberation inherent in masturbation after a lifetime of considering her own vagina a space meant for others. In “Four Out of Five,” Glen uses humor to take ownership of his experiences of sexual assault and turn them into tales that exemplify his skills of observation and judgment—abilities that he feels have increased as a result of his encounters. Tara Abrol explains how going for a year without having sex has made her sexuality seem more personal and less performative in “Year of the Make-Out.” While the collection’s concept of virginity carries uncomfortable connotations that valorize purity and inexperience, it is clear that editors McHardy (a Community College of Vermont faculty member) and Plourde (Out & Allied Volume 2: An Anthology of Performance Pieces Written by LGBTQ Youth and Allies, 2014, etc.) and the essayists have good intentions. For the most part, the authors avoid these associations in the actual essays. The stories are by turns moving, horrifying, and funny, and they truly represent an array of experiences and viewpoints; each author may find healing through meditation, massage, forgiveness, anger, sex, or celibacy. It is true, as the editors explain, that these essays are no “ten secrets” guide to finding a positive path after abuse, but they are vibrant tales of rediscovering sexuality and vitality.

A valuable compilation that represents multiple paths for healing and thriving after sexual trauma.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944568-00-9

Page Count: 186

Publisher: Portlyn Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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