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You read the title correctly: Bohannon has practiced celibacy for more than 28 years (actually 30 years, as her book was published in 2016). A woman whose personal brand is all about grace, style, poise and elegance, the author is a voice over artist, studio session singer, interior decorator, home staging expert, pageant coach and mentor to girls and young women.  Bohannon became celibate, after a failed marriage, to honor her relationship with God. In her book, Bohannon is clear that she committed to the celibate lifestyle with the full expectation that she would be married again in due time (that has yet to happen). She still hopes to find and marry the right partner today—but she refuses to change her standards, to have premarital sex, to do so.

The C Word is one of those books I found impossible to put down once I began reading it—I literally finished it in one sitting. As Bohannon shares her journey since committing to a celibate lifestyle, she is neither saint nor martyr. She does not position herself as superior to those who are not celibate or engage in premarital sex, nor does she come off as a person to be pitied. Instead, she provides a straightforward, entertaining, sometimes heart-breaking account of how the people in her life—male and female, married and single, secular and religious—react to her choice, too often with disbelief, bewilderment, and even ridicule and social rejection.

Most telling is the degree to which Bohannon’s experiences illustrate how many men not only did not honor, esteem and respect her commitment to celibacy before marriage, but were determined to do whatever it took—including date rape—to overcome her resistance to their sexual advances. Chapter 6, “What the Preachers and Tyler Perry Say,” alone is worth the price of the entire book. You would think (as her match-making friends did) that Bohannon, a devout, church-going Christian woman, would make for perfect First Lady material for a man of the cloth. What she discovered were ministers and pastors who preached the gospel of “saving yourself before marriage” from the pulpit, while making it very clear to her that they were having premarital sex, and that a potential First Lady would be expected to do so as well.

However, the primary reason for reading this book is watching Bohannon emerge unbowed and without regret, a living example of a Grown woman living life with courage, confidence and conviction, on her own terms and without apology. She is the healthy, whole and self-loving example woman should be taught to aspire to, and every man should be taught to honor, esteem and respect. Bohannon remains great marriage material—precisely because she will accept no less than genuine love, on her own terms. For both men and women, The C Word is the book you read to understand what a truly Grown woman looks like, and how she came to be that way.

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