Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Book Review: The Virgin Cure

If you were to ask my friends and family to name one of my all time favourite books, I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to say "The Birth House" while rolling their eyes sarcastically. That's because ever since I finished Ami McKay's amazing debut novel a couple of years back I have been recommending it to every person I meet...yes...even the little old lady in the grocery store. You can probably imagine how excited I was then when I found out that Ami had published a new book called The Virgin Cure! In The Virgin Cure, McKay focuses on a young girl named Moth growing up during the Victorian era, who decides to join a brothel when her parents abandon her at the age of twelve.

Although I received The Virgin Cure this past Christmas from my brother (smart boy), I let it sit on the shelf for the past 4 months, frightened that it wouldn't live up to my high expectations. Once I worked up the courage to start reading it, however, my worries disappeared as I was swept away by Moth's touching (and sometimes disturbing) narration. While The Virgin Cure still wasn't quite as good as The Birth House, I was happy to discover by the end of the book that I wasn't disappointed.

One of the things that I loved most about The Virgin Cure was the topic that the novel focused on. This may sound extremely weird, but I've always been fascinated by the dark, seedy side of life during the Victorian period, like opium addiction, brothels, ect. Ami McKay definitely did a FABULOUS job depicting what it would have been like for a young girl to work in a brothel (although I'm sure in reality it would have been a lot more horrible then what the reader actually gets shown). It's pretty obvious that McKay did her homework when it came to providing historical details throughout the novel!

Speaking of historical details, one of the other things that I LOVED about The Virgin Cure was the pieces of commentary included in the margins of the book. In these commentaries the reader is given greater insight into everything from the clothes that women would have worn, to details about the medical equipment used by doctors during that time period. Reading these little snippets made me want to rush to my computer constantly to learn more about how people lived in the Victorian era!

So would I recommend The Virgin Cure? Definitely, yes! While it may not receive as much acclaim from me as The Birth House did, I still loved it and can't wait to see what this amazing author comes up with next. A word of warning to those who are a bit sensitive about topics like rape and prostitution though, as you may find a couple of scenes in the book a little uncomfortable. Ami McKay certainly knows how to make her readers squirm, but in the end the story is really powerful!

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Ikhlas said...

I still haven't read The Birth House, but have had this one on hold for awhile now! Glad you enjoyed it...hope my copy comes it soon :)

Jenny said...

I've yet to read either of these. I'm so impressed that your brother knew how much you liked The Birth House and bought you this one. My family never buys me books and wouldn't even know where to start. Sigh!

I'll have to give these ones a shot.

Chelsey said...

I'm so glad this one didn't disappoint! I share your odd obsession with brothels and opium-using (in literature..of course) lol jk. But you're totally right -- this was so well researched and beautifully written. Fabulous review =)!

Shoshanah said...

This sounds like a really interesting book and something I'd be more than willing to pick up.

Rachelia (Bookish Comforts) said...

I really enjoyed The Birth House and it's great to hear that The Virgin Cure is another great read. I'll have to pick it up soon. Great review :)

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