I saw him standing there, this young man with hair the color of Wise potato chips. That light. He was from Oklahoma, Alabama, somewhere in American where they ate small portions. I thought how much he looked like people you saw on television, not in real life...
At the age of eighteen, nice Jewish girl Hannah Wolf has two burning ambitions: to escape the confines of family life in Flushing, Queens - and to be swept off her feet by a clean-cut Ivy League Mr. Right. So how does she wind up with a balding neurotic Columbia drop-out like Moshe Wozinsky? Maiden Rites is just that: a tale of initiation painstakingly detailed by an innocent, who discovers the brutality as well as the rapture of carnal knowledge.
"In an outrageous counterpart to Philip Roth's portrayal of Jewish angst, Pilcer targets the sensual awakening of Hannah Wolf... Her troubled introduction to the erotic and emotional rituals of male-female bonding is both hilarious and touching. Another sassily vulgar excursion by the raunchy humorist of Teen Angel."
"A coming-of-age novel written with humor and insight."
"Hannah Wolf's story captures all the chess moves, the dopey angst, the secret heart of first love/first lust so well that half way through the book you will find yourself shouting out advice to the characters. Sonia Pilcer is one of our finest chroniclers of the post-World War II urban Jewish working class family."
"Maiden Rites is a quirky, funny novel - one which divulges bizarre bits of information - devil dog spelled backwards is god lived - all in the tempo of a teenaged torch song."
"Sharp and amusing throughout."
"Fresh, funny and very perceptive... Written with verve and pace, the book conveys the urgency and obsession of sexual awakening. A very enjoyable read."
Maiden Rites was published by Viking Press (edited by Amanda Vaill), and Weidenfeld & Nicolson. It came out in a paperback edition from Plume books.