… This I have to read.* Obviously.
I came across Skyler Mason on TikTok. She was speaking about her experiences with purity culture, making a break from it, and then writing a spicy book about those experiences. Purity is that book. (Please note that I received this book as an ARC after signing up for it on the clock app.)
Having grown up in a low-key version of the Purity culture, I was very curious about how this would work. I think this book is interesting because it puts words to page detailing the ins and outs of purity culture and the myriad damages that it causes. I think the author was working through a lot of stuff when she wrote this book, and that it is personally very important to her. I think there are some interesting conversations to be had in response to this book – in fact it spurred a second, very difficult, more in-depth one with my mother.
I mentioned earlier in this review that I grew up in a low-key version of purity culture. I tried speaking with my mom about this a couple of months ago and she was horrified to learn that I viewed my childhood that way. They didn’t think of their parenting choices in that light. I was like, you insisted that good girls don’t have sex until they’re married – in fact you actively discouraged me from any experimenting at all, I was only allowed to have the granny-ist of one piece bathing suits (and even then I had to wear a tee over them when swimming), you sent me to all of those church camps that were all about purity culture. True, you didn’t make me sign an agreement or write a letter to my future husband, or any of that crazy, but you did a lot of harm to my self image and sense of self worth by making me ashamed of my body, its appearance, wants and needs. To top all of that off, I started my period when I was almost 10. Don’t you think I should have been seeing an ob/gyn for annual exams just to make sure everything was okay at that point? Yes, you had the talk with me, but you didn’t really help me to learn how to manage those things either. It was like you couldn’t even acknowledge those changes.
To say that my mom was stunned by this would be an understatement. I suspect she felt attacked, but it was like the words could not stop coming out of my mouth – I guess they’d been pent up inside for too long.
I’m going to give it 3 stars – I wasn’t particularly drawn to the characters or their stories (I remember his name, but not hers), and the sex scenes weren’t anything special. Definitely not THUNDERSEX or disgusting like raisin sex. Just several “Daddy” references and light spanking. Was the book terrible? No, but it wasn’t great either. It reads like a writing exercise, like someone challenged the author to write a romance about purity culture, but make it “spicy.” Y’all. This book is not spicy. It is MAYBE vanilla with a swirl of sea-salted caramel. The most interesting thing about it is the conversation that it sparked with my mom. And, it was a difficult conversation, but one that we really needed to have.