Apr 23, 2012
Review - Purity by Jackson Pearce
April 24th, 2012 by Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Sixteen-year-old Shelby lives by three Promises that were set in place by her dying mother - to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. The Promises were easy to follow as a girl, but now that her father is on the Princess Ball committee (father/daughter dance where the girl pledges her purity), Shelby decides that she isn't ready to commit to being a virgin until married. Only problem is, her unwillingness to pledge goes against the original Promises. Shelby and her cohorts, Jonas and Ruby, discover a loop-hole and decide that if Shelby looses her virginity before the ball, there would be nothing to pledge. Shelby has 35 days to loose her Vcard in order to keep her mothers promise and not lie to her father.
By the preface and blurb of "A novel about love, loss, and sex - but not necessarily in that order." you might guess that this book talks about sex - a lot. Sex is a part of life, even teen life. In this day and age, that's just the way it is regardless of how you feel about premarital sex. The premarital sex talk didn't bother me, but I was concerned with the portrayal of boys in this book. Shelby has a one-way ticket to Hookupville and she doesn't consider the boys feelings during her journey. When she is denied some action, she throws an epic tantrum. She comes off as a bizzo and the boys came off a bit one-dimensional. This made me squirm a little. Guys and girls both like meaningless hook-ups, I get that (gulps), but it would be nice if Shelby entertained the idea that boys aren't all complete horn dogs. She doesn't give them enough credit, in my opinion. Also, I'm pretty sure Shelby's mother would be mortified to learn that her daughter is having sex just to keep her promise. (double gulp)
One thing I was not expecting was the atheistic views from Shelby. This aspect of the book made me the most uncomfortable. Ever since Shelby lost her mother, she has a hard time believing that there is a God because if one did ,in fact, exist, why in the world would he choose to have her mother die? That's a fantastic question and I'm sure children and teens have asked that a million times. It's something grown adults ask themselves when they suffer a loss. Her thoughts on the existence, or the lack of, God came up time and time again. I tried to put myself in Shelby's shoes, but man I had a hard time with her viewpoints.
I liked Shelby's friends a lot more than Shelby. I thought they were more well-rounded and grounded. At times they try to talk sense into that girls hard head, but Shelby usually doesn't listen well. No matter your opinion, this is a book that will start conversations. Much needed conversations about sex and philosophical ideas about life. I can picture a mom just like me picking up Purity, reading, and taking their daughter out to lunch for a nice chat. I think that is a beautiful thing.
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You can find Pearce at her website