I've come to realize that, and I get this diminishes the point of reviewing books, I probably will only write positive reviews.
Well for one, it's very rare I don't like a book. Maybe I'm easy to please but also I know what I like and don't like and I don't stray too far from the familiar - which I know can be a bad thing. Second. chances are I would realize I didn't like the book about 50 or less pages in and then my review would never be complete! Anyway, back to the book at hand.
I’ll start off with I suppose a general warning of sorts.
This review is part review, part essay and you'll see why.
And this book is about virginities and sex and the stress those two can cause in a woman's life particularly, so if you’d rather not read about my experiences and take on these topics then you might as well direct yourself back to the safety of my home page.
Rathbone’s Losing It is the story of a twenty – six year old virgin, Julia Greenfield, and her mission, for lack of a better word, to change this as quickly as possible one summer. On their website, Vogue called this book the 40-Year Old Virgin for women and really, that’s exactly what it is.
Julia Greenfield has a problem: she's twenty-six years old and she's still a virgin. Sex ought to be easy. People have it all the time! But, without meaning to, she made it through college and into adulthood with her virginity intact. Something's got to change.
To re-route herself from her stalled life, Julia travels to spend the summer with her mysterious aunt Vivienne in North Carolina. It's not long, however, before she unearths a confounding secret—her 58 year old aunt is a virgin too. In the unrelenting heat of the southern summer, Julia becomes fixated on puzzling out what could have lead to Viv's appalling condition, all while trying to avoid the same fate.
After reading that description I was sold.
For some reason, save for a Netflix movie I stumbled upon called The To-Do List (great movie) most books, movies and shows focus on the men losing their virginities. Us girls go through it at some point too, but if talked about it's usually negatively.
In her interview with Vogue, Rathborn explained her take on the storyline:
“I thought it was interesting to write about a woman who is going through tremendous loneliness, [a novel] that says: Yes, women feel very angry too... everyone is so obsessed with dating and relationships. That’s what all the movies and songs are about. But what about the people who are on the outskirts of that? What about the very real situation where you just don’t ever meet anybody?”
Because if a movie isn't about the guy, you can bet it's about the girl who has the happily ever after the whole audience wants, even if that's not realistic. Sometimes we just don't meet the right person, and that's rarely talked about.
That's what was so refreshing with this book - it was a very straight forward take on what women go through.
Julia is all too aware of hookup and sex culture, but she doesn't play victim to it at all. She sees her virginity as something she certainly wants to lose the summer she spends in North Carolina and she's willing to try anything to accomplish her goal, even online dating and hook-ups at the most inappropriate, yet amusing, times.
While I haven't even reached 26, I was by far the last of all my friends, especially my age, to lose my virginity. I didn't even consider it in university, I was no where near comfortable with guys. In first year of college I couldn't even make it out the door to a date without cancelling. Not even a polite cancel, just deleting said guy from my phone/Facebook/dating app and disappearing...sorry boys.
I used to, for a long time, be caught up in the romance of it, like the 'waiting for the one' and by all means there's no shame in that! But I was tired of waiting and I wanted to be completely in control of how it happened, so I was.
Then in second year, at the ripe age of 23, I was ready. My mission was more or less the same as Julia - I didn't want anything out of it, I just wanted it over with and not regret it. And while I wasn't in North Carolina, Ottawa did just fine and I'll never have negative feelings about the experience. In fact, my only regret is that when he offered his number I declined because I wasn't even from the city. Sure nothing would have happened, but that could have been amusing.
Julia, the protagonist, goes through the novel sharing flashbacks of what it was like when her friends lost their virginities (something I'm all too familiar with after sitting through the stories since roughly the age of 15) and is undeniably lonely and awkward. She is, I'll admit, not a totally likeable character and I'm not sure why I was drawn to her. She is selfish, it's really noticeable in the way she treats her (strange) aunt but in my eyes she just isn't sugar coated, and that doesn't make her a horrible character.
When a customer asked me for a book recommendation that wasn't emotional or sappy but had humour, this is the book I handed to her. It is not a thriller, and I don't mean this in a bad way at all. It's a book filled with wit and charm that had me laughing quite a few times, especially when it came to Rathbone's brutal honesty through Julia.
Should you read it?
It's a break from the books where the women seek true love and not just some really good, if not awkward or first time, sex.
You'll read this if you want a book with dry humour and an inside look at what a woman could actually be thinking. It's not hidden behind the notion of finding true love and getting it on in front of a fireplace while romantic jazz music plays, it's in plain sight with bad dates and the pressure we put on ourselves.