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.
Despite the rather prurient title, Cohen's memoir is a deeply poignant, desperately sad account of a confused, directionless adolescent girl's free fall into self-abnegation. Growing up affluent in New Jersey in the 1980s and smarting from the recent breakup of her parents, 11-year-old Cohen begins to recognize the power her nubile body has over men. Being wanted becomes her greatest hope; once she and her older sister, Tyler, begin living with her father when her mother decides to attend med school in the Philippines, she latches onto other girls with whom she treks into New York City to bar hop at places like Dorian's Red Hand and pick up older, eager boys. Stunningly, the father is not alarmed by her early-morning absences, but seems to encourage her popularity, buying her clothes and treating her as a grownup. Gradually, hooking up with boys becomes a need, a way to bolster her faltering sense of self-worth. A litany of dreary sex acts follows with young men she doesn't particularly like and who don't like her, regardless of STD scares and a college rape. The painter mother of one of her boyfriends does initiate her into more intellectual pursuits, awakening a redemptive desire to become a writer. Cohen's memoir of a lost childhood is commendably honest and frequently excruciating to read.
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I had to ready this book for a final in my behavioral addictions course and it has become my favorite book that I’ve read in a really log time.