Member Review

Pure

Pub Date:

Review by

Sarah W, Librarian

Last updated on 03 Sep 2018

I Recommend This Book

Strongly

Thanks to Touchstone and Netgalley for this ARC. 

I grew up on the fringes of purity culture. It wasn’t part of my religious upbringing, but I was pretty well acquainted with the movement as a teen in the 90’s. Mostly I mocked it, as I did most things associated with the Christian Right in those days. Only after reading Klein’s compassionate and empathetic book do I realize how wrong I was to write off purity culture as some innocuous chastity craze. It has left deep scars on thousands? Millions? Only God knows how many lives.

As a practicing Christian, I am appalled by the lack of love shown in this movement, just as I have been appalled when reading about the experiences of former Christian culture “insiders” like Vicky Beeching and Jennifer Knapp. There is this attitude of “us” versus “them,” an exclusivity I cannot reconcile with the Gospel Jesus preached. 

And the shame that haunts so many adherents of this movement! It is unfathomable to me that this guilt and shame has its roots in a cultural phenomenon that is supposed to be about waiting for “True Love.” Maybe it’s maturity or maybe after reading story after story of how negatively True Love Waits etc have impacted the lives of so many of my generation, I do not find this chastity craze funny anymore. It angers me. It disappoints me. It disheartens me. But it doesn’t make me laugh.

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