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Reviving Ophelia

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Reviving Ophelia & My Experiences

I opened Reviving Ophelia with an open mind. As a 17-year old high school junior, I am usually turned off by books that my mother and teacher enjoy. This one, however, was much different. Immediately, I was pulled into the book. Maybe it was because I realized that ...
I opened Reviving Ophelia with an open mind. As a 17-year old high school junior, I am usually turned off by books that my mother and teacher enjoy. This one, however, was much different. Immediately, I was pulled into the book. Maybe it was because I realized that I am one of the girls Pipher is talking about; I am Ophelia. I doubt if I was a boy or even a father I would be very interested, but because it pertained to me directly I was pulled into the reading. I could relate to each and every one of the 'characters' in one way or another. I felt for these girls and their problems, and each and every one of them contributed to the book. I don't think I've ever read a book before and was able to just say 'Yes! I know exactly what you are talking about!' It's nice to know that there are actual studies done on teenagers; that someone would think to take the time to figure out what it is with teenagers (girls in particular) that make us the way we are. Mary Pipher's main thesis is practically the life of every teenage girl out there, including myself. It makes me realize that as a young teenage girl, I am not alone. By reading this book, I have learned that society just expects boys to be able to handle more on their own and be more independent than girls. That is just an assumption made by many. As to if it's true or not, I couldn't say because I am not a boy, I have no brothers, and I have never read a book about the lifestyle of a teenage boy. A lot of girls today no longer have the support behind them telling them 'You are not alone'. The author's tone was very sympathetic and understanding to the girls, and she told each story with a personal glimpse behind it. It's almost as if Mary Pipher had known each and every one of those girls for years. Each tale of the unique girls had a conflict and resolution. Throughout the last third of the book, a lot of the girls' problems had to do with their relationships with others. Boyfriends, moms, dads, and siblings were all common topics. Some of the girls that I read about were so interesting that I wish I could read more about them. Mary Pipher has established a theme that growing up as an adolescent girl is not easy. It's challenging, confusing, scary, and exciting all at the same time. Adults sit back and watch us run and fall, and they have to step back and let us get up on our own. We won't learn anything by not falling, but there comes a point when the last time you fall and you feel as though you are never going to make it back up, an adult is needed to lend that hand and pick us back up. Pipher calls it 'girl-poisoning'. Girls are pushed to be someone they aren't; do things they don't want to do; and be happy doing it. There is media, sexism, feminism, and raging hormones that are everywhere. Throughout this book, these girls' tales have been completely real and un-cut. They tell it how it is, and then Pipher explains the psychological aspects behind what they feel and think. One of my favorite phrases in the book was, 'Ophelia died because she could not grow. She became the object of others' lives and lost her true subjective self.' (Pipher 292) Ophelia is from Shakespeare's Hamlet. In Hamlet, she is a free and happy child who loses herself at adolescence. When she falls in love with Hamlet, her only objective in life becomes living for his approval. Torn apart by her efforts to please both her Hamlet and her parents, she loses the fight when Hamlet rejects her for being a compliant daughter. Beset by grief, and without any inner direction, Ophelia drowns in a creek, weighed down by her heavy and elegant clothes. Pipher uses the title Reviving Ophelia in reference to bringing back what died inside Ophelia- that adolescence innocence. Is it really possible to bring back a self that you lost? And if you did bring back that self, would it be the same thing? Mary Pipher is posing the question, What can we as a society do to help adolescent

posted by Anonymous on January 4, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

what the hell?

this book does NOT explain teens today. it is very outdated and repetitive. what she basically says is: a) teens lose all interest in sports b) teens lose all communication with parents c) teens become depressed d) yada yada yada and i just couldn't read any m...
this book does NOT explain teens today. it is very outdated and repetitive. what she basically says is: a) teens lose all interest in sports b) teens lose all communication with parents c) teens become depressed d) yada yada yada and i just couldn't read any more. a waste of my time.

posted by Anonymous on June 29, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2005

    Very poorly done

    I gather that Mary Pipher is a few years older than I, but still of my generation. I can't say that I have much intimate knowledge of teenage girls either at the time Pipher was writing or now, but I do recognize that she has made some of the most basic mistakes in sociological and psychological analysis, and judging by my own experience, her understanding of the generation of the mothers' of these teenagers is limited and faulty. Pipher begins with what is sometimes regarded as Freud's most fundamental error, i.e., taking the patients who enter one's office as a valid cross-section of the society. She also uses her experience of growing up in a small town surrounded by a closely-knit extended family as the exemplar of our (and the mothers') generation. My own experience was a lot closer to that of the teenagers that she describes than to hers. Pipher seems to be utterly unaware of the Sixties Counterculture, which casts serious doubt upon her qualifications as a social critic. I think it is irresponsible to encourage girls to regard themselves as misunderstood and alienated, and in fact, most of the Baby Boomers had direct or indirect knowledge of the pressure for sex and drugs. Whether or not it has become worse, it certainly isn't a new problem. Pipher also ignores the various studies, dating back to at least the 1970s, showing that despite the fabled Generation Gap, most teenagers share their parents' values (radical teenagers often have radical parents) and recently, a study showing that most girls feel close to their mothers. Fianlly, mainly of the toxic 'isms', like lookism, which Pipher insists the older generation doesn't know and cannot understand, have been around for decades, if not centuries or millenia.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2005

    As Liberal as You Can Get

    If you are a conservative mother of faith looking for help with your teen daughter, this is NOT the book. Pipher is a radical leftist who: praises the mother of a 16-year old girl for encouraging her in her pursuit of lesbianism, attributes vegetarianism in teen girls to a desire to 'speak for those without a voice,' and quotes numerous leftist politicians (Hilary Clinton, Janet Reno, etc.). She ascribes to the tired old feminist notion of girls being short-changed in our schools; however, Christina Hoff Sommers has blown the lid off that scam! She seems to genuinely believe her 'theories,' but admits they are simply her observations as a therapist. She also seem obsessed with the notion that sexual abuse of teen girls is rampant; however, everything is anecdotal. Pipher does admit that the liberal let-them-find-themselves parenting does NOT work, and that parents need to be loving, but IN CONTROL. It's worth a read, but beware.

    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

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    Posted August 16, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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