Tamara Faith Berger
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Winner of the The Believer Book Award (2012)
Shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award (2013)
'Maidenhead is a mesmerizing and important novel, lying somewhere between the wilds of Judy Blume, Girls Gone Wild, and Michel Foucault. It's a thrilling, brilliant, and really hot place to be.' — Sheila Heti, Globe and Mail
On a mangy beach in Key West, sixteen-year-old Myra meets Elijah, a Tanzanian musician twice her age. Trapped on a Spring Break family vacation, Myra longs to lose her virginity to Elijah, and is shocked to learn he lives with Gayl, a secretive, violent woman with a strange power over him.
When Myra and her splitting-up family return home, she falls in with a pot-smoking anarchist crowd. But when Gayl and Elijah follow her north, she walks willingly into their world, engaging in more and more abject sexual games.
As Myra enters unfamiliar worlds of sex, porn, race and class, she explores territories unknown in herself. Maidenhead traverses the desperate, wild spaces of a teenage girl’s self-consciousness.
said, ‘I like your bathing suit, Myra, is it new?’ I nodded and then I jumped in the water. My suit was fuchsia, a combination of a one-piece and a bikini. My dad used to give me and Jody and Jeff dolphin rides in the water when we were kids. His back had pimples and you had to hold on tight with your straight arms to stop your mouth from going under. It was awkward before I knew how to swim. That feeling of going deeper, bobbing down but trying to stay up, while the dolphin didn’t even know how
squeezing my legs together, squeezing inside. My mom had at least fifty different tubs inside her table. I dipped into two of the peach-coloured foundations and rubbed my entire face with the stuff. Then I turned the light setting to night and blue-purple dots bounced off my fresh mask. It didn’t look bad, it looked kind of glamorous, actually. I painted on another layer of the stuff, then I dusted with powder, smoothing over the cracks. The lights on my skin were like cars on the road. ‘You
brother looked up at me. It didn’t look like he was surprised to see me – a freak with peach-coloured makeup half-off. The older brother was drinking a plastic red cup of beer. His mattress had faded flowers on the sheets. I was glad to be away from Jen and Charlene. The older brother looked smart. Most girls are fucking mean. If they’re nice, it’s an act. The older brother motioned for me to come over, come closer, as if he knew that I was having these bitch-like thoughts. I stumbled and sat
of connections. He’s starting the university tonight, right, Wils? Like, modelled on the free-school movement of the sixties. Maybe he’ll discuss your essay or something.’ Aaron jammed on the gas to get around every car he could. ‘I don’t know,’ Wils said, his mouth half in a kiss. ‘Ask this one. She’s the expert.’ ‘I just thought Chris would want to read it,’ Lee said quietly. ‘Shows how much I admired it, right?’ My essay had stalled. I could not imagine this Chris or Ms. Bain or Mr.
of confession. LEE: Well, maybe some of that will be healing, or whatever. GAYL: Healing? I don’t think so. I’d prefer my pussy get healed. It misses being fucked. Who’s got something for me there? § I was naked lying on top of my covers. Lee stood at the doorway of my bedroom trying to convince me to come with her and Wils and Aaron to Aaron’s parents’ place in Florida. She said that we could rent a car and go off on adventures by ourselves. ‘Bataille says that the power of the abject is