Pure by Linda Kay Klein


From a woman who has been there and back, the first inside look at the devastating effects evangelical Christianity’s purity culture has had on a generation of young women—in a potent combination of journalism, cultural commentary, and memoir.In the 1990s, a “purity industry” emerged out of the white evangelical Christian culture. Purity rings, purity pledges, and purity balls came with a dangerous message: girls are potential sexual “s...

Details Pure

Release DateSep 4th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Feminism, Religion, Sexuality, Christian

Reviews Pure

  • Sarah
    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 chasti...
  • Touchstone Books
    Wow. Shocking, deeply empathic, and meticulously researched, Pure exposes a terrifying phenomenon in this country—one that affects us all, evangelical or not.
  • Mehrsa
    I didn't grow up evangelical, but I completely understand this purity culture and I'm glad people like Klein are writing about it. The purity myth is another great book on the same theme. I did not love the format of the book--I wanted to hear more in Klein's voice, more history of the movement, and more data or commentary. Instead, Klein just interviews a lot of ex-evangelicals and then reproduces the interviews almost verbatim. Some are very in...
  • Christina
    This book is sad on two levels. 1. The traumas experienced by so many women and the fact that distortion of Christian doctrine led to their abuse and/or struggles, in many cases driving them away from the church. 2. The fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity demonstrated by the author. Reading this, my heart hurt for the women who were physically and emotionally manipulated and abused, even as I winced through the unnecessarily graphic deta...
  • Meghan
    I received this book as an advanced reader's copy due to the requests and reviews from our patrons and from goodreads and this book was very powerful in the message that it conveyed. This "movement" impacted a lot of people and made a strong difference in not only that community but worldwide. I was hit hard with a whirl of emotions and disbelief that this strong view had such a strong impact on people. The book displayed some heartfelt stories, ...
  • Ali Shaw
    I was raised in an evangelical community that HHS’s subscribed to purity culture. I lost count of the times while reading this book I felt relief and horror that other people had the same feelings and experiences I did. The book is well written, well researched and well paced. Highly recommend. I couldn’t put it down.
  • Stefanie Merrifield
    (more in-depth review available at stefaniethelibrarian.wordpress.com)The cover of this book says it all, "Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free." Linda Kay Klein grew up in the evangelical church during the height of the purity movement. She spent 12 years interviewing friends, and strangers, who grew up in the same environment. During this time she was able to confirm her belief that she w...
  • Kevin
    This book moved me to tears numerous times, as I read the stories of people whose lives were profoundly harmed by the Purity movement. But the book really speaks to cultural shaming of all kinds, even outside Christianity, and its message can be appreciated by everyone regardless of a person's faith tradition. The journeys told in this book are often harrowing and sad, but they often are also redemptive and hopeful, in that people who have been d...
  • Valli
    I grew up in the independent Christian church/Church of Christ, and though I managed by a combination of luck and apathy to never attend a True Love Waits retreat or sign a single purity pledge, I was well-versed in purity culture. It has deeply affected me and the other women I grew up with; I have seen it contribute to and cause sexual dysfunction, self-esteem issues, relationship struggles, and religious identity problems. This book tells many...
  • Molly
    If you grew up evangelical, or in any kind of religiously-based purity culture, your psyche probably really needs this book. It gets a little repetitive now and then, but the perspective is invaluable.
  • David
    A look back on the fallout from the 1990s evangelical "purity movement" and where it has left many people today. (e.g., a recent apology from Josh Harris for convincing millions of teenagers not to date: https://www.christianpost.com/news/ab... )
  • Ashley
    Very difficult to get through,but I think it's important for anyone raised in religion to read this. As an atheist now, the author's apologies for religion and the church sometimes made it hard to relate to the book; however, the content is important and necessary to read. This book is for anyone raised in or anyone who loves someone raised in purity culture.
  • Carrie Surbaugh
    At points this was painful to read, seeing my experience of purity culture reflected in the stories of so many other people. However, the book was structured well and offered some hope for redemption of the evangelical church’s (really messed up) sexual ethic.
  • Rebecca
    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley in exchange for an honest review.'While I have no personal experience with the community being profiled in this book, I still found the stories of those who spoke about their experiences in this book to be powerful. It's possible that those who are members of the Evangelical Christian community will feel differently, but I didn't think that the book felt scathing- rather it reflected...
  • Robert D. Cornwall
    As I finished reading Pure, the U.S. Senate was concluding a day long hearing pitting the memories/claims of a previously obscure woman and the nominee for a life-time appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. The two may be different at one level and yet related at another. In the Senate hearings, the question was, who will you believe? Too often down through the ages, we believe the man and not the woman. Could it be that we have different expecta...
  • Melinda
    This was incredibly painful to read. It covered a lot of ground that is familiar to me, and it pissed me off. The process of writing and researching it must have been excruciating for the author.The comparison drawn between the church and dementors really resonated for me, how women (particularly trauma survivors) who were harmed by purity culture find it difficult or impossible to continue in relationship with the church because the church (like...
  • Heather Yockey
    A weekend read. Once I started, I couldn’t put down. Mainly because of the stories, each page reminding me of a world that’s a long ways back in my rear view mirror. Wondering if 12 years ago, when I was much more a part of these circles would I have had the guts to read this book. If you are a white woman who has grown up in this subculture, chances are you’ll find yourself in one of the many stories included in this book. Strict home? Hip...
  • Paul
    A little rambling, but there are stories to tell. The effect of the purity culture in the church on women. This is about women and for women, but the culture has adverse effects on me as a father and a man in the church. How I raised my children esp. my daughters and the effect it had on their lives. This is an important topic for parents to consider.
  • Jen Gray
    You don’t have to agree with her personal outcome (ahem evangelicals) to get that shaming women is epidemic in the evangelical movement. I applaud the author’s vulnerability and her fair treatment of her interviewees. I think this book starts an important conversation and can help some women begin to heal, if only in knowing they are not alone and not crazy.
  • Kelly
    Remember growing up in the 90's? Remember the mainstreaming of Evangelical Christianity and what it meant to be a young woman against a backdrop of purity rings and promising your virginity to Jesus? Remember what it was like to be a teenager and to be caught between wanting to explore your sexuality and being worried about not being pure and good enough to deserve respect? Who else remembers being told that your virginity was like chewing gum - ...
  • Christiana Martin
    Perhaps one of the most important books I've ever read, this well researched, excellent piece of writing is a book I'll have to keep buying over and over so I can send it to all my friends. While some of Klein's work is deeply disturbing and challenging to read, I was encouraged by her dedication to the church's much needed reform efforts as well as her discussions of spirituality. Her work with her organization Break Free Together offers fellow ...
  • Kathryn
    While I do not agree with all of the author's conclusions - (my religious development took a bit of different turn than hers) I loved her voice, her compassion, and her willingness to address difficult topics. I used to say all the time that "I Kissed Dating Good-bye" ruined dating for a generation of us, and I think that claim has been born out. I hope we are able to do better by the next generation.
  • Anna
    I've read a bunch of similarly-themed books lately and this drew from some of those (legitimately quoting in a few cases), so it might be that I've just kind of hit my fill of it. I still think it's worth reading.
  • Laura
    Dark. Painful. Terrifying.
  • Erin Langley
    Haven't fully processed it yet but whoa.
  • Abbie
    Read this book. If you’re a woman or have a daughter. Read it.