Cover Image: A Scarcity of Virgins

A Scarcity of Virgins

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Member Reviews

This book does NOT have enough reviews on GR. This was such a surprise. I’ve already recommended it to several people. Rita is such a complex character. The grey areas in the book absolutely had me. I love it when things are not black in white. This will be a reread for me for sure. .
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DNF just over 50% - I tried to tell myself that I'm on the downhill and just finish it, but honestly I don't have enough interest to do so. I can't quite put my finger on why, as I think this is a pretty well-written insight into one woman's life in suburban 1980s Toronto. Maybe Rita is a bit flat, but I understand why she is. Maybe it's that I just can't stomach cheating as a means to discover or emancipate herself. I certainly understand her ambivalence, but maybe she commits herself too much to passing emotions and her attached thoughts without examining them. 

Given I couldn't bring myself to finish this, but can't quite identify why, I'm going to give what I think is a generous 2* - could take it or leave it. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the free eARC in exchange for my review.
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The book took a while to get going. It was set in the 80's but there's wasn't much in the book to evoke that decade in my opinion. It could easily have been set in the current decade. I felt that the scenario of Rita falling for Valentine's charms didn't feel true. However, I was pleased that she did turn her life around by the end of the novel. Ok, but not brilliant. I also don't like the title of the book. It doesn't fit the storyline.
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It was one enjoyable read to pass the time. I honestly went blindly into with zero expectations or might be limited set of them, but whew I’m glad I got disappointed.. but in a good way haha. As it rather exceed them. I was hooked and couldn’t put it down until and unless I was done with it. Gonna do a buddy read too once it would be published!!
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This book unfortunately was a very difficult read and I had a very hard time finishing it. Sorry not for me.
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The year is 1986 and thirty-eight-year-old Rita lives in the suburbs of Toronto with her husband and four kids. While her husband is a good provider to Rita and their children, there is no passion there. Lovemaking is perfunctory and scheduled in twice a week – always on the same days – without fail. Rita cares for her children and ensures they are well fed and taken care of, but even that relationship seems more tied to a sense of duty than a source of fulfilment.

Rita contributes greatly to her own sense of isolation from larger society since her fear of driving around her city – and her refusal to ever drive on the highway – further shrinks her world. It’s not even that Rita would fully understand the oddity of her circumstances. Having grown up in a strict Sicilian-Italian family, women were taught to reign in the homes and to be dutiful wives. While her immigrant parents were incredibly proud their daughter obtained a college degree, they never had any intention of her using her education once she married.

Within this context, Rita’s world is entirely upended when she meets Valentin, a much younger man who immigrated to Canada from Spain, and who quickly becomes her lover. This torrid affair rapidly becomes all-consuming to the inexperienced Rita, and soon she is risking everything. Her marriage, the safety of her children, her sense of reason, her family finances – all fall prey to the overwhelming passion she feels for the man who has awoken her sexual desire.

In some ways, this is a coming of (middle) age novel. Rita’s affair serves to open her eyes for the first time to possibilities beyond her narrow world, and she begins to question everything about her life and the choices she made.

This novel also includes a nice exploration of immigrant communities in Canada, showing how Rita’s own family molded her experiences and values – and expectations for her marriage and her life choices.

At times, I felt this novel was decades earlier than the mid-eighties in which it is set. Although Rita’s sexual awakening serves as the catalyst to changing her life, I would have also liked to have seen her observing other examples of how families were living around her. The eighties were a time in which women were entering the workforce in large numbers. It seemed odd as a reader that Rita appears so cut off from the world around her, and never really confronts her reality with that of neighbors or acquaintances. With four kids, it seems probable that she would have had these types of encounters at school events or parties. I felt this would have further reinforced the questioning of her own choices, especially once the affair begins to change her perceptions.

Nevertheless, this was an interesting portrait of one woman’s journey of self-discovery, and the reader is drawn very much within Rita’s thoughts and feelings throughout the novel. There are some beautiful descriptions and I enjoyed the insight into her upbringing within the Sicilian-Canadian community.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this novel, in exchange for an honest review.
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*Thank you to netgalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.* 
This book had a slow beginning. It’s not a book I would typically read but I really liked the synopsis and wanted to give it a try. I really enjoyed seeing Rita develop from the resigned housewife. She’s in her 40s and unhappy with her life. She’s unhappy with her husband. He’s an abusive and unkind man. She enters back into the workforce and reinventing herself and her love for herself. She has an affair with a younger man. Rita shows the struggles women go through and how we shouldn’t stay complacent in life. Rita’s was living in a time when women were still repressed. I mean will women ever have true equality? There is more to life than being a wife and a mother. Those are incredible things but so is happiness.
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