Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pg. 69: Kerry Cohen's "Loose Girl"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Kerry Cohen's Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity.

About the book, from the publisher:
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.
Among the early praise for Loose Girl:
“Cohen’s clear-eyed, evocative, and engaging voice draws you into this harrowing story, into the heart of her addiction. Her honesty is brave, her clarity is remarkable, her candor is disarming. No matter who you are, you will find yourself, at key moments, identifying with Cohen. And in the end, you will cheer for her hard-won happiness.”
--Alison Smith, Name All the Animals

“Kerry Cohen’s powerful, transfixing story will be familiar to many women, most of whom won't want to admit it. In this heartfelt and authentic memoir, Cohen transcends the pain and shame of a promiscuous past, and leaves readers with a sense of hope and triumph.”
--Janice Erlbaum, author of Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir

“Cohen’s brutal honesty about her relentless request for companionship is refreshingly relatable.”
--Entertainment Weekly

“Cohen recounts her harrowing litany of hookups through clear, poignant, spare-no-details prose.”
--Marie Claire

“Her candor may help under-21 readers steer clear of the whole mess, while those who survived similar ordeals will appreciate her tale of survival.”

“Gripping. . . . That it took much painful introspection for Cohen–a licensed psychotherapist…to determine what motivated the defining ‘loose girl’ behavior of her youth, and then about ten years to summon the courage to let it assume narrative form, speaks volumes about the need for her story.”
--Kirkus Reviews 3/1

“Cohen’s training as a psychotherapist is clearly evident. She reveals an impressive analytic prowess as she exposes the damaging self-effacement that underlies the seeming assertion involved in attracting men to her and then driving them away. . . . An important look at the dynamics of female sexual power and promiscuity in general.”
--Kirkus Reviews 3/15
Read an excerpt from Loose Girl, and learn more about the book and author at Kerry Cohen's website and her blog.

Kerry Cohen received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon and an MA in counseling psychology from Pacific University. She is a practicing psychotherapist and the author of the young adult novel Easy.

Read Cohen's list of "Five Great Books about Teenage Girls and Sex."

The Page 69 Test: Loose Girl.

--Marshal Zeringue