Prof. Caryl Rivers’ best-selling novel, Virgins, is back in circulation—thanks to Diversion Press, a new e-publisher.
The Boston Globe’s Jan Gardner, in her book column, “Word on the Street” reported, “In Virgins, Catholic schoolgirls coming of age in the mid-1950s chafe at a world that refuses to take women seriously. The 1984 comic novel by Caryl Rivers sold a million copies worldwide. This summer, Virgins has been released as an e-book and the issue of sexism in the Catholic Church is still making headlines, with the Vatican having accused nuns of overstepping their bounds.
“I must admit it didn’t occur to me that some of the issues I was writing about — like the equality of women in the church — would still be in the news,” Rivers wrote in an e-mail. “I would have thought we’d be way beyond that now, especially since some of my early role models for feminism were nuns.”
In an article for the Women’s Media Center in July 2012, Professor Rivers noted the similarities between the past and present for women in the church. “Virgins is about 50s girls trying to rebel against a world that had no place for women in serious matters. Now the Vatican is giving that message to its own most valuable asset, the women who are the heart and soul of the church. But guess what? The nuns are not shutting up. They have told Vatican officials that it’s they who are out of step, not the women who are doing the work that Christ commands—healing the sick and succoring the poor. Most Catholics seem to agree with the sentiment I saw recently on a T-shirt. It had a picture of a nun and the slogan, ‘I’m with her.’”