Reviving Ophelia with Bookflag and Lipcard

ISBN: 0345395034
ISBN 13: 9780345395030
By: Mary Pipher

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Reader's Thoughts

Myria

The author has good intentions and I agree with her on some things but…. This was horrible. I don’t even know where to begin! I really don’t. I understand parents wanting to protect their kids from these kinds of things but I hope any parent does not live by this book. Please do more research. A LOT! I don’t know if it was just me but the way Mary worded some things, it came off as she blamed men for this problem. WHATEVER. This just reminds me of a joke that Katt Williams said about woman blaming their self esteem on men. As he said “It is called SELF esteem! It is the esteem of your M***** F***ing self!” If it wasn’t that then it’s all about the media or peer pressure. Maybe I just don’t get this whole peer pressure and media thing bc growing up, I was too hard headed to be fooled by any of that. Everyone goes through peer pressure through all stages of life but there is a thing called personal responsibility. Being a girl does not give you a free pass at it. She also acts like girls can’t protect themselves or don’t have any inner strength or common sense. And as a parent, you don’t need a book like this to tell you that you should teach your child that. You don’t just pop out a kid and then that’s it. That is the role of being a parent! Giving them a safe, happy home to live in, helping them, guiding them and teaching them. That right there helps tremendously with giving your child good roots, confidence and a good head on their shoulders. And if you need ANY book to tell you that, then maybe you shouldn't be a parent.NO parent is perfect and we all make mistakes, of course, and your child will deal with challenges through life (you can’t keep them safe forever) but that’s life! Blaming this kind of stuff on social trends, does not cut it. At all!!!! Parents need to pay attention and do some homework on this subject. And by SUBJECT, I mean= *raising a bright kid *how to be there for them *not raising an air head *and understanding that self-esteem issues stem from MUCH MORE than just what the author liked to point her fingers at. What I DON'T mean= is finding ways to blame everything else but your parenting skills and/or lack of self responsibility.

Matt

My interest in this one is kind of hard to pin down: in part, like everyone else I'm curious and concerned about what young women go through-- this is probably just curiosity, mixed with a recognition that I'd like to understand my students a little better. But at the same time, I think that "teen girl" as a category is kind of a political football, a screen through which people wage these kind of political turf battles-- in other words, disparage the culture for its effects on teen girls. Teen girls are kind of the ultimate silent witnesses to pretty much anything you want to say about them, and I was at least a little curious what this book would say, since it was so well-received when it came out, and I think it still has some resonance, at least among fogeys like myself.Pipher, or at least her book, kind of pushes back against my expectations in the sense that she really doesn't over-reach as much as some books from the right and left. It's true that she says at one point the love and boundaries, what is essentially the conservative parenting route, seems to work better for adolescent girls. But she is quick to add that this causes problems when the girls mature and need to make their own way. Maybe I'm missing something, but I felt like the book was really balanced in terms of how it approached girls here.Lots of the stories are interesting, just in terms of the lives some people lead, and Pipher's explanation of her treatment style, while not in-depth (the book as a whole is short on depth, really) seem plausible and even the kind of thing you might be able to suggest without a clinical background. Her description of the differences between bulimics (disorganzied) and anorexics (controlling) was interesting, though I feel like I've seen in before. I wanted more insight, maybe, into cutting, but it wasn't that kind of book.All in all, I felt like this was a good read, though not as challenging, scary, or eye-opening as I'd thought it'd be. I don't know what that means, but part of me thinks that it at least suggests things are that much more dire than they were fifteen years ago when this was published-- what was news then really does feel like a given now. And that can't be good.

Carrie

There were some good things I took away from this book. Oddly enough the most important things I learned is to keep my daughters room filled with journals and writing tools. :) Wow, I wish I would have used (or would use now) writing as a tool to stay mentally healthy. The other is to keep her busy in things that make her strong in, body, mind, and spirit.Another thing I walked away with is that there are strengths and weaknesses in every form of parenting. It made me want to hug the stuffing out of my parents for loving me so much to try to keep me grounded and busy. They gave me a moral basis to work from and allowed me to explore who I am with a lot of support. Man, if I can be half the parents they were....but I digress...I think it is a very good read for parents with daughters. After reading it I came away with a sincere worry about my daughter loosing her power. She is amazing, and somehow I hope that we can get through the teen years leaving that power in place for adulthood. I have to add at least one more step to the two in the first paragraph. Not everyone will agree but prayer and meditation are essential to knowing what our daughters need from us. Go team.

K

Hmmmm....very mixed feelings about this one.Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls covers a lot of the same ground as Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student. We read about adolescent girls struggling with depression, eating disorders, self-mutilation, premature sexual involvement, etc. Both Mary Pipher and Miriam Grossman are mental health practitioners who treat these girls and view their difficulties less as individual issues than as an indictment of the high-pressure, overly sexualized, hedonistic, materialistic, narcissistic society in which they live. For all their overlap, I couldn't decide why Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls irritated me so much more than Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student did.I hate to think that my own biases played a role here, though I have to admit they probably did. Miriam Grossman is, I believe, an Orthodox Jew like myself who shares a lot of my beliefs about traditional values and the benefits of a religious lifestyle which may be why I felt more open to her perspective. Mary Pipher, in contrast, appears to be a staunch feminist who attributes the problems she sees to a misogynistic society with unrealistic ideals for women. While I'm sure she's not entirely wrong, I found her views at times overstated and alarmist.“Girls have four general ways in which they can react to the cultural pressures to abandon the self," says Pipher on page 43, "They can conform, withdraw, be depressed, or get angry.” Um, how about simply resisting the pressure in a positive way? Doesn't anyone do that any more? Is the world really so awful? What about all the people who come out “normal,” whatever that means? Surely some girls make it through adolescence without needing therapy for an eating disorder or self-mutilation, don’t they? Is that just my background talking (sheltered, religious, single sex schools, little contact with the opposite sex before college)? In fact, I'm aware that girls from my background can also struggle with serious issues like the ones Pipher describes but I meet a lot more girls who don't.In a similarly monolithic statement, Mary says on page 150: “If we picture depression on a continuum, at one extreme would be severe depression with some biochemical basis and disturbed family functioning. AT the other end of the continuum would be ordinary adolescent misery [how about happiness, Mary? Why wouldn’t that be the other end of the continuum?]…Most girls suffer depression somewhere between these two extremes.”Really? Most? Well, probably most girls in therapy which is where her information comes from. But actually, I believe there are some reasonably happy, or at least relatively contented, adolescent girls out there.Mary also claims on page 158 that “Girls are under more stress in the 1990s.” Actually, this is debatable. In “Spin Sisters,” the author posits that women’s magazines sell the impression that women are more stressed out today when in fact, women have never had it so good. Does that apply to girls? I’m not sure, but I certainly think that a blanket statement like “Girls are under more stress in the 1990s” without research to support it should not be made in this unqualified way. Can we examine this a little? Why are girls under more stress now than when they had to help out on the farm and couldn’t go to school? I agree that there are new, unprecedented stresses today on girls that didn’t use to exist. But is there more stress? I’m not sure. Mary herself acknowledges in a later chapter that, while many things have become more difficult for adolescent girls than they once were, other things about the world they live in are actually more flexible and positive.Here's where the feminist agenda irritated to me and felt like a misattribution. On page 175 Mary asserts that, “They [anorexic girls] epitomize our cultural definitions of feminine: thin, passive, weak, and easy to please.” Um, isn’t this a little outdated? Is this still our cultural definition of feminine? I mean, yeah, this ideal certainly isn't dead but I wouldn’t go so far as to make the blanket statement that it, and only it, is our cultural definition of feminine. Although Piper complains, legitimately, about many movies’ sexist portrayal of women, I can also point to popular films where women are strong and tough and get for what they want by working for it, not by looking pretty. Which brings me to another point. My husband has a great-aunt who, obviously, comes from an older generation with more old-fashioned ideals for women. So she never particularly progressed in a career; she raised four children, did a lot of volunteer work, and may have had some pink-collar job or another at some point. This woman, now in her late 80s, is lovely. She’s charming and sociable, always put together – a real lady in the true sense of the word. She’s also a happy person who doesn’t appear to feel particularly deprived or disappointed that she never became a fast-track career woman; she enjoys many satisfying memories of family and positive experiences.I think feminism gave us many things, and like anything else, it’s not all-bad or all-good. But here is one of my problems with feminism. I think it rejected the idea of being like my husband's great-aunt. Being a lady is no longer something to aspire to; it’s considered outdated at best and repressive at worst. Maybe we need to take a look at this. Was every woman who stayed home unhappy? Was every woman who expressed her femininity by looking good and having a social persona that put everyone around her at ease depriving herself and inevitably disappointed in her life? Why aren’t there more women like my husband's great-aunt today? Is there something wrong with aspiring to be a lady like her? Can a woman admit it if she feels this is something she would like to be? If not, isn’t feminism in its own way just as repressive as the alleged misogyny of earlier days was? Okay, so my husband's great-aunt was pretty and spent time putting herself together in the morning. So her idea of enjoying herself included taking care of her kids, mah jongg and swimming with the girls, volunteer work, etc. So sue her. I wouldn’t describe her as thin, passive, weak, and easy to please. Easy to get along with, yes. But passive isn’t the word I would use, and neither is weak. These are pejorative, loaded terms when something more positive (diplomatic, tactful, socially adept, engaging) can be substituted. Thin enough, certainly not anorexic. Mary Pipher appears to be echoing feminist rhetoric when she claims that anorexia is an attempt to conform to feminine ideals. In fact, the ideals she describes date back to the days before anorexia. Anorexia actually became more of an issue once these ideals of femininity were challenged and, to some extent, rejected by many.And yet, for all my gripes, I found myself agreeing with many things Pipher said. For example, her views of divorce (pp. 133-4):“In the late 1970s I believed that children were better off with happy single parents rather than unhappy married parents. I thought divorce was a better option than struggling with a bad marriage. Now I realize that, in many families, children may not notice if their parents are unhappy or happy. On the other hand, divorce shatters many children…Of course, some marriages are unworkable. Especially if there is abuse or addiction involved, sometimes the best way out of an impossible situation is the door. Adults have rights, and sometimes they must take care of themselves, even when it hurts their children…But divorce often doesn’t make parents happier. Certainly it overwhelms mothers and fathers, and it cuts many parents off from relationships with their children. Many times marriages don’t work because people lack relationship skills. Partners need lessons in negotiating, communicating, expressing affection, and doing their share. With these lessons many marriages can be saved…So in the 1990s I try harder than I did in the 1970s to keep couples together and to teach them what they need to know to live a lifetime with another human being.”I've seen friends and relatives struggle with difficult marriages, and I readily acknowledge that sometimes divorce is the only answer. I respect Pipher, though, for viewing it as a last resort. In fact, most of the struggling teens she describes have divorced parents, a fact which is mentioned peripherally and then discarded in favor of further diatribes about society's misogyny and impossible feminine ideals.Pipher also echoed my ambivalence about the Haim Ginott school of parenting (p. 242): “…parents tolerate…open anger much more readily than earlier generations would have. I’m confused about whether I was more repressed as a child or just happier. Sometimes I think all this expression of emotion is good, and sometimes, particularly when I see beleaguered mothers, I wonder if we have made progress.”She agreed with my feelings about psychology's overemphasis on family dysfunction (p. 251): “While Miranda [a bulimic teen] was in this program [a treatment center for eating disorders], her parents secured a second mortgage on their home to pay for her treatment. They called her daily and drove to the faraway center every weekend for family therapy…“My first question to Miranda was, ‘What did you learn in your stay at the hospital?’“She answered proudly, ‘That I come from a dysfunctional family.’“I thought of her parents…They weren’t alcoholics or abusive. They took family vacations every summer and put money into a college fund. They played board games, read Miranda bedtime stories…And now, with Miranda in trouble, they had incurred enormous debts to pay for her treatment. For all their efforts and money, they had been labeled pathological.“…Psychology has much to answer for in its treatment of families. We have offered parents conflicting and ever-changing advice. We have issued dire warnings of the harm they will do if they make mistakes in parenting, and we have assured them that they are inadequate to the task. Our tendency to blame parents, especially mothers, for their children’s problems has paralyzed many parents. They are so afraid of traumatizing their children that they cannot set clear and firm limits. They are so afraid of being dysfunctional that they stop functioning.”And I loved some of the things she had to say about therapy and the way she works with people.So where does that leave me? Did I hate this? Did I like it? I think if I ever had the opportunity to meet Mary Pipher, we would have a long talk and many heated arguments. But we would also agree about a lot of things. And the book was certainly readable, and though not based on empirical research, offered a large quantity of case studies to support its points and was clearly more than speculative.So I guess I'm giving this a conflicted three stars -- one of those times when my feelings weren't neutral but rather, all over the map.

alysa

I HATED this book. Is there NO hope for our girls? I found this book to be very negative about the future of girls trying to grow up in this world. Although the book is outdated I did not find a whole lot that related to the average American girl. The author generalizes about girls as a whole based upon her patients that are in therapy. This is not to say that girls are not going to have issues, but I don't think the majority of girls are going to have the depth of issues of the girls in this book. I found the book very repetitive and stated the problem over and over and offered no advice on to how to help girls in the turmoil of adolescents. Don't waste your time!

Jessica

This is a biased and thoughtless review, based on vague memories of a cranky adolescent's insensitive snap judgment, so you shouldn't pay any attention to it. It's definitely more of a statement about me than it is about the book, which I don't really remember anyway.I read this in the mid-nineties when it came out, and I remember feeling, as a teenage girl, annoyed and offended. I felt at the time that it was making too much of girls' helplessness and sort of encouraging us to feel sorry for ourselves and to wallow in a sense of victimization, blaming our parents and "the media" for everything. Honestly, though, I'm sure this is a gross mischaracterization of everything in this book, which I honestly don't remember one bit. Raising girls -- raising anyone! -- not to be all screwed-up around here -- around anywhere! -- is hard work, and parents deserve all the help they can get. At the same time, I do have some basic belief that adolescence is supposed to be kind of miserable: that's called "growing up," and it hurts. I mean, obviously girls shouldn't be cutting themselves or trying to commite suicide, but adolescents feeling bad a lot of the time seems normal to me. I engaged in a lot of behavior as a teenager that on paper sounds pretty pathological or at least disturbing, and I'm not saying that's ideal or that I want my kids doing all of it, but I did make it out the other end, you know? As did a lot of other girls I know who had much more extreme problems. Now we're grownups, and we've got the stories.Again, I don't remember what this book said, but I do remember my basic reaction. I felt like someone was characterizing me as being way more screwed-up than I felt I was, and I was annoyed by some of the case examples, especially where they reminded me of troubled friends of mine who, I felt, were not well-served by a therapeutic culture that I saw at the time as potentially iatrogenic (though I hadn't learned that fancy word yet!).It might be interesting to revisit Ophelia now, since I always have infinitely more sympathy for groups of which I am not a member. If this book enlightened parents about issues relevant to raising girls in a materialistic and misogynistic culture, then the more sensitive, kinder adult me is all for it. I do not envy the parents today, as I think popular culture has gotten exponentially more threatening to girls' developing a healthy sense of self.Of course, if I were fifteen today I'd probably say that was crap. I would sneer at any suggestion that Paris Hilton or reality plastic surgery shows had any effect whatsoever on my development, and then I'd run off to drink beer in a bush with my similarly indignant peers.

Melinda

This book is highly recommended in "How to Talk to your Child about Sex" by the Eyre's, which I have read and reviewed ( http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... ), so I have queued it up for reading. *************************************This book is a good companion book to read with "Packaging Girlhood", see http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... for my goodreads review."Packaging Girlhood" shows you what goes on behind the media and marketing that pushes girls (from toddler to college age) unwittingly towards stereotypical diva / boy crazy / shopper personnas. "Reviving Ophelia" puts real faces on the girls who have been objectified and demeaned into these stereotypes, and who live with the pain and horror that it can involve. The author provides case study after case study from her own patients who have dealt with issues ranging from eating disorders to rape. It is again not a happy book to read, but I feel a very worthwhile book to read. Girls are growing up in an increasingly toxic environment. The pressures of perfect body image and "fitting in" socially turn fairly well adjusted elementary school girls into depressed and withdrawn middle schoolers and then bitter suicidal high schoolers. Just as girls are going through puberty and significant body changes, the schools become torture chambers of taunting and humiliation. Mary Pipher provides an interesting "this is the way it was" snapshot of life when she was growing up and contrasts it very effectively with the life of girls she counsels now. It isn't the way it used to be, and it is getting worse. To provide solid evidence of what she discusses, the author provides case studies from her practice as well as interviews with various girls who did not need counseling. She deals extensively with body image and how young girls, without the maturity or support to know what to do, turn to bulimia (binge / purge eating), anorexia (extreme weight loss through dieting and/ or excessive physical activity), drugs, or alcohol for solutions.Interestingly enough, some of the solutions the author has to help young girls through their growing up years include:1) Parents, DON'T DIVORCE, stay married if you can because an intact family is better for children of all ages. In the chapter on divorce, the author says that in the beginning of her practice in the 1970's she believed that children were better off with a happy single parent rather than unhappy married parents. However after 20 years of practice as a therapist, she has changed her mind. She realized that in many families the children may not notice if their parents are unhappy or happy. Yet a divorce shatters children, and very often does not make parents any happier and frequently makes women poorer and children more vulnerable.2) Be present and part of your daughter's life. Parents need to be parents and not abdicate decision making to their daughter. One interview the author had with a well adjusted teen girl showed that the mother was not working outside the home, but was present and engaged in all aspects of her daughter's life. 3) Establish structure in your home, establish rules and limits, follow through with consequences when rules are broken. Girls make wiser decisions and are more stable when their home life has these elements in them. Learn when to be flexible and when to stand firm. Too much firmness is actually better for the girls than too much leniency. One case study the author references was a situation where parents chose to let their daughter decide very early on what she wanted to do without much interference or guidance from them. They wanted her to be free to make decisions. What they did not realize was that being overly permissive did not help their daughter make GOOD decisions. She needed more guidance and firmer boundaries. In trying to teach her to be free and independent, they had actually contributed to her being overwhelmed and depressed. She needed for them to be the responsible adults and guide her, so she could grow up into a responsible adult.The 2001 edition of the book I read had a reader's guide at the end with some good questions to think about and answer. There was also an interview with Mary Pipher 10 years after the book had been published. One question in the interview that I thought was particularly good was "If you could offer one or two pieces of advice to girls, their parents and teachers, what are the best things they can do to weather the storm of adolescence?" Mary Pipher's answer is revealing and I quote it completely. She answers, "First of all, be very intentional about media. Don't watch a lot of TV, be cautious about the kind of music and movies you consume, read good books as opposed to teen magazines. Be careful about your intellectual diet. If you have an intellectual diet of junk food, you have a brain full of junk. I would advise people that this is a serious life decision -- deciding what to consume, in terms of information and culture.Another thing that's very important is that teenagers not be isolated from other age groups. The biggest and best change we could make in America overnight would be to have a whole bunch of seventy-year-olds rehearsing with middle school bands, helping kids learn to read, teaching children how to garden and fish, and so on. Likewise, it's important for teenagers to be involved with little kids, and with people in their twenties, who can look back on when they were that age and offer them some decent advice on how to make choices. I really argue for a lot more mixing of the generations than we have now.Finally, I think it's really important for parents to insist that their kids be plugged into family. Adolescents should go to family reunions, eat at family meals, and have regular contact with grandparents and cousins and extended family members. Parents shouldn't let kids make all of their own choices about how they spend their time. Essentially, kids are told three thousand times a day by advertisements to spend their time shopping and consuming. Unless parents teach kids that there are other ways to spend their time, how will children even know that they have other interests?"In reading these suggestions, I was happy to see that families who homeschool are taking her advice to heart. Homeschoolers I know evaluate TV, music, and movies that come into their homes and strive to teach discernment over blind consumption. They as a rule read more books, and place a high value on a vigorous intellectual diet. Homeschoolers I know also mix multiple generations together. Seventy-year-olds ARE teaching middle schoolers. Teens ARE around little kids. Homeschoolers I know ARE teaching their kids other ways to spend their time and learning other interests.So while the overall book is very sober, I think there is great reason to be encouraged. Mary Pipher insists that the only way to change the toxic culture young girls are facing is to change the culture. I think homeschooling parents are hearing what she has said, and are responding.

Caris

When I look at my daughter, I see a beautiful little human who means more to me than anything I could have ever imagined. She smiles at me when she wakes up. She holds my finger as we watch TV. She explains the most elaborate and convoluted things to me in a baby language I can't quite comprehend but certainly get the gist of. I have an intense feeling of responsibility for her well being, which, I assume, will last for the rest of my life.The thought that she will grow up causes me physical pain. It's hard enough seeing her gain an ounce every few days, but adolescence? I think back on it and cringe. It was awful. Embarrassing and painful. And I was (and am) a boy. Things were easier for me.Pipher singles out my fears of my daughter's future, and prods at them with a crudely sharpened wooden stick. She watches as they writhe in agony and makes sure that I never get used to the torture. It's like the tenth ring of Dante's Inferno, specifically reserved for fathers of girls. Eating disorders. Self-mutilation. Alcoholism. Drug use. Sex. Violence. It's awful, but it's necessary. For the parent who is willing to face such issues head on, this is a must read. Not only does it describe a great many of the issue being faced by teenagers, it provides suggestions for dealing with these problems. In a case study format, Pipher introduces the reader to a variety of common problems faced by teenagers from many different backgrounds. She advocates parent-child relationships based on respect and understanding and she provides good ways to gain trust to get healthy dialogues off the ground.That said, the text is dated. In another ten years, the pop culture references are going to be incomprehensible. She references the lyrics of 2 Live Crew and Madonna as major influences on teenagers. Every few years, this book deserves a new edition or else it runs the risk of becoming a time capsule. The "dialogue" that happens between Pipher and her teenage clients also comes across as false, likely due to the combination of real life cases that make up each case study. Coming from a social science background, this was easy for me to understand (every one of my college textbooks was the same way), but I worry about teenagers coming to this as a self-help text. It seems likely to me that they're not going to believe it's real.In spite of all its flaws, this book is a must read for parents of teenagers. It addresses all of the information bombarding teenagers (media, peers, parents, school) and how best to deal with the overload. It offers tips for good socialization and gives advice for how to weather the storm.But, if you're anything like me, don't read it if you want to sleep.

Katherine

Approximately 1/3 of the way into this book, I nearly quit. It was highly repetitive; I felt like a lengthy magazine article could have covered the same material. As I got further into the problem-specific chapters, though, I began thinking more and more about my own experiences. I was 13 when this book was first published. I am very much a product of the culture Pipher was addressing. Her insights on family relationships in particular got me thinking. I found some of her cultural observations less interesting, more melodramatic. Overall, though, Pipher wrote an interesting book dotted with useful bits of advice without sounding like a self-help book or being overly preachy. I particularly appreciated her objective stance on adolescent drug and alcohol use--that not all of it is problematic or to be pathologized.

Victoria McVay

I had to read this for a class I took recently, it was… alright. There are some great points and lessons in this book, however, the author makes incredibly broad and exaggerated statements about girls going through puberty, almost as though this book should be taken as doctrine. I definitely do not agree that everything she speaks of, introduces you to, etc, is the "norm," nor do I think girls who escape the repercussions of our "girl hating America" are typically wealthy, in loving stable homes, or smart enough to block out all of the evil cultural pressures we've had shoved down our throats over the years. It has a strong sense of feminism, the author even says things early on such as, "Where are the women in the history books?" and she talks about how girls grow up seeing men in powerful positions, and thus automatically yet possibly unconsciously believe they are powerless in a man's world. Pah-leez! Really? For one, women are in history books, for two, there are more men because in those time periods, women were at home raising families, not waging war and writing the Constitution. Smh… the world is not out to get us. Aside from that, I do think its a good book for parents and their daughters while going through puberty, perhaps they'll be able to learn from others' mistakes so they don't have to experience those particular hardships themselves.

Kathleen

This book deals with the lives of young girls and their struggle with eating disorders. I read this when this was an issue in my own family, and I found it to be a great resource.

Natalie

I thought this book was really really interesting. It is about the negative effects our culture has on teenage girls (too much emphasis on beauty, too much encouragement to be passive in order to please others, etc.). One of my favorite points she made is that our society spends tons of time and money educating women on self-defense, but wouldn't it make much more sense to educate young men on how to be respectful and non-violent towards women? I do have some reservations about the book, though:1) The author is a bit of a man-hater. Sometimes I think she blames all the world's problems on men.2) She uses case studies to make her points. In her case studies, the women who stay at home with their kids and take on traditional female roles are all weak/don't have a clue who they are/depressed. The women who completely abandon the traditional roles, however, are her strong examples of women who have overcome our poisonous society and saved their "selves." I think she is pretty biased in her writing on these points.Those things aside, I enjoyed this book and think it had some pretty good/valid points.

Marcea

The superlatives I could list for this book would fill an entire page. It’s profound, insightful, moving, disturbing – I could go on and on. The subtitle of this book is ‘Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls’, but it could just as easily have been ‘Where We’ve Come From to Get Here’ or ‘Every Woman’s Glance Back’. Tt has raised many issues for me that would be better more fully developed in my journal. Pipher was not only very illuminating with the content but also inspiring with her phrasing and style. As I was reading I kept thinking of more people I thought should read it, my baby brother & sister-in-law who don’t yet have children or anyone has or who may raise daughters. In reading this I believe every woman would better understand their selves, & every man could gain insight into women they love and both use the wisdom to guide and protect their daughters and nieces.

Marianne

I am too angry about the idiocy of the author of this book to write a review. It started off somewhat promising, although it's horribly crafted and hokey. It took a downward dip when Pipher mentioned that she honored a client's request not to "tell [the client's:] parents" that the client's boyfriend had abused her. That's against the law, Mary Pipher. You gotta report that shit--perhaps not to the parents but definitely to the police for sobbing out loud.

Jessica

I read this book when it first came out in 1994, when I was 13. I had just been busted by my parents for stealing prescription drugs from their medicine cabinet (I think the plan was to kill myself...hazy), and this book appeared on my mother's nightstand soon after. I remember approaching the book like an army general who has gotten his hands on the enemy's battle plans, only interested in it as far as it could reveal to me what plan the adults were hatching this time so I could fortify my defenses and plan a counterstrike. The book also appealed to me because there was a thin, attractive white girl of about my age on the cover who, I assumed, wanted to commit suicide like Ophelia in a pool full of flowers. This encapsulated my two main desires at 13: To be thin and attractive, and to commit suicide. I failed at both.Alas, "Reviving Ophelia" didn't quite keep my attention at 13. If it had, I think it would have helped me understand that the intense pain I was suffering was not just my own hell but a part of a nationwide epidemic. I don't know if this would have helped me, but it might have. Instead, all I remember thinking was that Pipher, like many adults, seemed disproportionately concerned by body-piercings. Revisiting the book now, 16 years and a few million miles later, I still don't think nose rings are as big of a deal as Pipher makes out. I am struck, however, by her prescience at identifying a trend which no one else up to that point had made much of: Girls in the early 1990s were literally losing themselves. Young girls have always had a rough time of it in American society, but suddenly the troubles hit the white middle class like a tidal wave. At 13, I didn't have the maturity to connect Pipher's thesis with what I indeed experienced regularly: Friends in the last phases of anorexia having heart attacks in the shower, almost everyone else an anorexic wanna-be, relationship abuse, drug abuse, suicides, crippling depression and self-hatred. Now, as an adult, I can appreciate Pipher's commitment to showing the world that these were not isolated problems, problems that happened only to girls from fucked-up families, or just weird girls. This was a catastrophe that struck almost every girl I knew growing up. It has still not been fully examined, although many of the problems that blighted my generation are starting to wane (and new ones are rising - try buying your female toddler something that does not resemble a porn star costume at Target). While I think that Pipher oversimplifies too much, and that she is ill-equipped to make sense of many of the cultural changes of the early 1990s, her thesis generally stands today: Our culture poisons adolescent girls, transforming them from children to sex objects, from active participants in their own lives to passive spectators. And most bizarrely, these problems are distinctly post-women's liberation/post-feminism. I don't think it's entirely ridiculous to wonder if the daughters of the women who won liberation in the 1960s paid for their mother's gains via some sort of cultural backlash.

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