A friend told me that On Chesil Beach was one of only two books that made her cry.
It describes the 1962 wedding night of 21 year olds Edward and Florence, both inexperienced sexually and unable to talk about their fears. Childhood and teenage experiences are weaved into the narrative, and their family backgrounds and hopes for the future are explained. However nothing has prepared them for their first sexual encounter.
I found myself sometimes wanting to laugh at the characters' embarrassment and misunderstanding, but overall, my heart ached for them. On Chesil Beach should be required reading for children when they start sex and relationship classes at school. It's not only a beautifully written book, but it also provides a convincing argument for openness.