Book Review ~ Loose Girl by Kerry Cohen

Summary ~ Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity

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.

Loose Girl by Kerry Cohen is a stumbling trip down memory lane for this author/psychotherapist.  Kerry was a girl, like myself and millions of others, who grew up in the pop culture world that depicts sexual behavior as love which lends to confusing thoughts and misdirected actions that lead to more trouble. 

Am I good enough?  Everything I do is not for me but for that boy or that friend who’s opinion means more than anything.  Those are the thoughts that are constantly tormenting Kerry starting at a terribly young age (eleven) and make her teen years and early adult life a heart wrenching, abyss filling period, full of the same mistakes made time after time. 

Sex, looks, how we act for the opposite sex and what he thinks about me are the common themes in Loose Girl.  Kerry grew up in a broken family.  The victim of a mother who left the family she doesn’t really want to follow her dreams and the daughter of a father who reluctantly takes Kerry and her older sister Tyler in but doesn’t quite grasp the sense of what his responsibilities require of him.  Buying the girls love and (he thinks) respect with clothes, expensive private schools and a rule-less home life leads to a life that any teenager thinks is the best but underneath it all is the worst thing for her development. 

Loose Girl was a tough read for the most part.  Some parts of Kerry’s story echoed my own “dating years” but the drugs, drinking and constant repetitive behavior became tedious at times.  The point of the problem carried across to me, the reader, very well and was extremely effective though.  I found myself very frustrated with Kerry and the same “mistakes” she made over and over again but I understand that that was and is the “illness” she deals with and dealt with while growing up without even being aware of it.  Sleeping with a guy on the first date or just for the sake of a one night stand isn’t the best thing to do and usually doesn’t get one anywhere one wants to go in the end. 

I think that some young girls might benefit from reading Loose Girl if it’s taken as a cautionary tale but after much editing.  Drugs and alcohol play a significant role in Kerry’s misadventures.  Actually, maybe it doesn’t need editing for the young reader.  Maybe it could shed a long lasting light on what can happen if you don’t put yourself first in your life and succumb to peer pressures and the role society tries to place the young and influential female in. 

{Rating 3.5 out of 5}

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2 thoughts on “Book Review ~ Loose Girl by Kerry Cohen

  1. There seems to be a fine line between a cautionary tale and encouraging bad behavior. I think it is good to have exposure to stories like this because you can see how change is possible, but it is also important to provide context for what environmental factors could have prevented the situation.

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