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


Making Out Like a Virgin


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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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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