Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review: Do Tampons Take Your Virginity? by Marie Simas

Do Tampons Take Your Virginity?
Author: Marie Simas
Publisher: Deviant Troll Press
Series: N/A
Pages: 161
Genre: Non-fiction, chick-lit
Release Date: September 25, 2010
How Received: Author

Summary: Do Tampons Take Your Virginity? is a powerful, gut-wrenching memoir about what happens when you grow up in an insane Catholic family. Often surprisingly funny, the author's candid writing exposes the endurance it takes to survive a stifling, oppressive upbringing. It's an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, fiercely honest and sincere. Each memory is written in sharp episodic chapters to mimic the author's real experiences, which range from brutal to hilarious, and everything in between. This memoir shouldn't be missed! 

My Thoughts:
From the very first page, Marie exudes brazen, blatant honesty. Do Tampons Take Your Virginity? starts off with an ass/face towel anecdote – I kid you not – and it only delves deeper from there. I applaud Marie for being audacious enough to publicly write about these stories. I’d personally be too afraid of who from my past would read the stories. Marie, however, exposes every raw moment of her childhood – from abuse, to rape, to sexual encounters. This memoir was so full of honesty that I was mildly surprised at first; it takes some getting used to (my jaw dropped at least 10 times while I was reading).

This memoir was a complete emotional roller coaster. There were times when I cried, there were times when I laughed. I personally guarantee you will laugh at the first page of this memoir. But despite the wit and humor present in Marie’s memoir, there was also her father present – an ever looming figure of fear. Every time a scene with her father came up, I wanted to personally run over to Marie and give her a big hug. However, she doesn’t let us linger in the sadness for long. She seamlessly provides sporadic comic relief throughout the entire novel so that the oppression her father brings isn’t too overwhelming.

Not only is she bold enough to “come out” with her story, but she’s strong enough to withstand her father’s oppressions and the hurts she’s suffered. She could have easily succumbed and taken her abuse silently, or even become depressed, but that never happened. Her head was still held high and she took her life into her own hands once she hit college. I was very impressed with the strength that she had.

And I have to mention her grandmother Amalia, who I fell in love with. Any old grandma that chases a perverted old uncle up the street, screaming obscenities in Portuguese, is definitely okay in my book. She was always a constant beacon of hope, at least from my perspective. Every time her grandma was mentioned, everything would get slightly better – not completely, but marginally.

Lastly, I love the fact that Marie tried to go back and reconcile with a few people from her past that she had wronged, such as Randall Johnson. I gained so much respect for her for writing an apology to him, and even more-so for Randall, for graciously forgiving her.

Cover Musings: I was shocked when I first saw it, haha! I did a double-take, and was like, “Is that REALLY a tampon on the cover?” I just suppose it shows you how blunt this memoir is!

Memorable Quotes:
No one can hold a grudge like an old Catholic grandmother. (pg. 22)
Catholics have a love-hate relationship with sex. In most European and Latin American countries, it goes like this: the women are discouraged from having sex until marriage. The men, however, are encouraged to get laid as much as possible. This creates a real conundrum because, if all the women are waiting for marriage, how are the men going to get laid? (pg. 60)
When my period finally arrived, I was fourteen. To my mother’s horror, I bought tampons and never bothered using pads. Mother was convinced that I would lose my virginity to the tampons and that no man would want me if I was going to stick things in there. (pg. 70)
Rules of a Catholic Grandma
3. If your waitress puts little jams and jellies in foil packets on your table, it is perfectly all right to stuff them all in your purse and take them home. The same is true for ketchup and mayonnaise packets and any “free” bread that is put on the table. If you are lucky enough to be eating at a buffet, bring along the biggest purse you own. (pg. 92)
When I left that office, I thought I was hot shit. Less than five minutes later, I was a spectacle. Fired, sitting in the street with bloody knees and a broken ten-speed. God was good at teaching me some humility. (pg. 126)
Somehow, all of my husband’s cousins are named Juan.
Juan Carlos, Juan Antonio, Juan Horacio... and Oscar got a little pissy with me when I couldn’t tell them apart.
Catholics need a middle ground. People need to believe in a place like Purgatory. It gives assholes some hope. (Pg. 151)
All those years of happy memories had been forgotten. I had chosen to remember only the hate and anger. The proof was there; there were happy times, too. Years filled with laughter and joy. Was there a point where our lives made a dark turn, or had I ignored the positive aspects of my life for so many years that I no longer believed they had existed? I created a reality where there was nothing but darkness. (pg. 159)

Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: Do Tampons Take Your Virginity? is one hell of an emotional roller-coaster. One moment you could be crying, and the next, you’ll be laughing your head off. This novel is honestly intense, and intensely honest. It takes readers through the past to where Marie is today, and the conclusions that she’s drawn from her experiences in life. This novel is definitely thought-provoking, strong, and crazy. It deals with abuse, rape, forgiveness, mistakes, religion, stereotypes, and personal growth. I don’t normally read memoirs, but I’m glad I chose to read this one – I definitely recommend it to anyone out there (especially Catholics, such as myself).

Rating: 5/5

* I received this novel for review from the author (thank you Marie!) in exchange for an honest review. 


Angela Tolsma said...

sounds really good. great review

Anonymous said...

This sounds awesome!

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

Also, if anyone is interested, I'll be hosting a giveaway for this memoir (signed copies!) really soon! Be on the look-out! :)

Amelia said...

Hey Kristina! I really wanted to know what you thought about this book. I'd heard of it from my ultra-Catholic aunt, and she really didn't like it (she's pretty religious, though, and thought that a lot of the content was un-Catholic or whatever). I'm glad to read another perspective, though!

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

Hey Amelia! I can definitely see why your aunt didn't like the book - the content held a LOT of questionable things that challenge Catholic perspectives and beliefs. For example, Marie loses her virginity before marriage. I can see how many devote Catholics (my mother included) would react to that mere act, but it didn't faze me.

I just suppose it depends on personal beliefs. You should give the book a try and let me know what you think! :)

Marie Simas said...

Thank you for the wonderful review, Kristina. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed the book.

I write technical nonfiction professionally, and this was my first personal project. I'm sure it won't be the last.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Well, the title of this book certainly got my attention. A great review. I won't be at all shocked to hear that this is a book added to those people wish to ban.

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I definitely want to read this book! I hadn't heard of it before this review, but it sounds very interesting.

Literature for Lunch said...

This sounds very interesting and bold! The title definitely grabs you. I do like to read the occasional memoir so I might pick this up at some point. It sounds like the author really takes an honest look at her past and experiences.

Great review!

Anonymous said...

this looks like a great book! great review. It looks like with quite a bit of comedy in it :)

Miss Bookiverse said...

The title of this book is so bizarre. At first I thought it was a self-help book for young girls ;D The premise sounds really interesting. I haven't grown up in a catholic environment so I'd be very interested in what it is really like (because I think I have some prejudices), I'll check this one out!

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

@Tracy: The title grabbed my attention, too. :P I spose I haven't thought about whether or not people would wanna ban it. Probably, though, considering a lot of the content.

@Sam: I'm glad I could introduce it to you! :) It was interesting!

@Jennifer: Oh, I hope you do, so I can see what you think of it! :) I'm having a giveaway for it right now (shameless advertising :P)

@okbolover: Thank you! It is a great book - it actually deals with child abuse, etc, but there's a lot of comic relief so you aren't too depressed.

@Miss Bookiverse: Haha, I know! But my mom tried the whole "tampons will take your virginity! do NOT use them!" on me a while back. :P Erm, not all catholic environments were like Marie's! I think you might be horrified if you thought all catholics were like this. =x

Unknown said...

I should have this book, as we, Indonesian girls and womans don't use tampons. I my self used tampons, but my daughters don't want to use it, they feel uneasy.

Erika said...

I'm Catholic, and though I have no complaints about my upbringing or my faith, I feel the need too read this book. Thank you so much for putting it on my radar!

Molliwobbles said...

Figured I'd check and see if this was in the Kindle store.... $0.99! I will be reading this as soon as possible. ...possibly during my meeting tomorrow. Don't tell. ;)

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

@Amiko: Wow, crazy! I suppose that's how different cultures and generations react to certain things though!

@Erika: You're welcome! I'm so glad it got put on your radar! The Catholicism aspect of this memoir isn't what initially drew me - it was the very "out there" cover, haha.

@Molliwobbles: Awesome! My mouth is completely sealed, haha! Let me know what you think! :D You should write a review, also - I'm sure it'd make Marie happy! ;)

No Te Enredes said...

Great book.Thanks for sharing this informative information.Its a great book for those who still thinks that virginity and tampons are merely cause of losing.
usar tampones

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