Book 40: Virgin: The Untouched History

TITLE: Virgin: The Untouched History
AUTHOR: Hanne Blank
STARTED: July 7, 2007
FINISHED: July 23, 2007
PAGES: 290
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: As I worked on this book, I joked with friends that I was going to give it the subtitle Everything You Think You Know About Virginity is Wrong.

SUMMARY: [From] Why has an indefinable state of being commanded the attention and fascination of the human race since the dawn of time? In Virgin, Hanne Blank brings us a revolutionary, rich and entertaining survey of an astonishing untouched history.

From the simple task of determining what constitutes its loss to why it matters to us in the first place, Blank gets to the heart of why we even care about it in the first place. She tackles the reality of what we do and don’t know about virginity and provides a sweeping tour of virgins in history—from virgin martyrs to Queen Elizabeth to billboards in downtown Baltimore telling young women it’s not a “dirty word.” Virgin proves, as well, how utterly contemporary the topic is—the butt of innumerable jokes, center of spiritual mysteries, locus of teenage angst, popular genre for pornography and nucleus around which the world’s most powerful government has created an unprecedented abstinence policy. In this fascinating work, Hanne Blank shows for the first time why this is, and why everything we think we know about virginity is wrong.

REASON FOR READING: I saw a review somewhere and was rather intrigued.

THOUGHTS: It was fun to read this book in public. People always did a double take when the saw the title on the spine. Blank pulls together the most random and fascinating facts about virginity and the culture of sex. Her writing is a bit scattered, but it's always straightforward and understandable. I'm very thankful that Blank stayed away from making this a completely academic book. She could have simply gathered facts and droned on about what they mean. Joyfully for me, she did not. Instead she takes virginity and the "virgin" culture and discusses how one impacts the other. While I wish certain passages had been more in depth, on the whole the vignettes Blank writes are simply fascinating. She has put together for of a social anthology than anything else, but it works well.

MISCELLANEOUS: I didn't giggle once.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]


Chantal said…
Interesting. I'll have to see if my library carries this.