I know what a half virgin is. The question had been nagging since I first saw the title of John Blumenthal's new novel Three and a Half Virgins. It nagged me all the way through the book until I finished it last night, and now I know. What you want to know is, in addition to the answer, was it worth the wait, was it worth reading the whole book to find out? My answer to the second question is yes.
Moreover, it would have been worth reading the whole book even if Blumenthal had forgotten to answer the nagging question or had deliberately left us guessing that maybe we were supposed to figure it out without having to have it spelled out in so many words. You know, the way some poets make it a point of leaving you with something so arcane and obscure yet so seemingly vital you must pretend you get it or look like a boob or like someone who isn't socially adept enough to laugh at a joke when he or she has no clue what's so funny. I know people who can do this and get away with it – fail to laugh at a joke and imply that those who do are the boobs. I don't get the impression Blumenthal is pulling one of those. But we're straying here and I intend to drag us back on course!
The book! Loved it. Loved every word of it. I've already told you about two of the three ladies our anti-hero, Jimmy Hendricks (no, not that one), tracks down to apologize to for being a cad when they were young. Remember? The one in high school was Laura and the one in college was Sama-antha (hyphenated by me so's to lend itself as a replacement flame for Donna in the sappy song “Oh, Do-onna”). The third one, also in college, is Molly. Not gonna tell you about Molly. Not saying she's the half virgin, either. Not saying she's not. Just gonna let you read about Molly and decide for yourself, replace some other girl's name with Molly in a song if you like, wake up, Molly, I think I have something to say to you...
Oops, almost forgot to remind you why Jimmy Hendricks (poor guy gets funny looks every time he tells somebody his name) took off to find these ladies. He's middle-aged now, tormented with guilt over having treated them badly and is horny. His wife has just dumped him, and that's a whole 'nother story, with its own mystery, which I'm leaving you to solve.
You'll love Three and a Half Virgins, just as I did. I promise. Have I ever lied to you?