Although I am not a woman, did not grow up in the late '6os just a few blocks up from the infamous Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco and am not the child of enlightened parents who strove against mainstream American materialism, I jumped two-footed into Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood (Viking Canada). I knew something about the cultural expectations and perverted societal values which Naomi Wolf and her friends speak in their testimonies of adolescent life. Promiscuities can be read as feminist criticism with its themes of empowered men and institutions subjugating the fates of the second sex, but it can also be read more like a novel for its details, plot and character development. These qualities drew me in and, apparently, blinded me to the book's polemic intent: an effort to present yet another chapter in the epic story of the struggle of girls to grow into vital and satisfied women. When my wife claimed the latter interpretation was the correct one, I protested that expectations of sexual prowess and early experience shook me off course, too: I also had sex before I was ready. These stories of women who have been challenged and sometimes corrupted by the prevailing American culture of prurience, materialism and male egocentrism can draw strong responses from both men and women, it seems, and sometimes liven up interspousal debate.