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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 January 26, 2005

    Highly Recommended!

    As a high school aged teen facing many social issues this book hit home. Reviving Ophelia looked at the physiology and sociology of teen girls facing tough issues. It was broken down in to sections talking about relationships with parents and friends, drugs, sex, alcohol, and self-image. This book gives real life stories of how girls cope in certain situations and how they can be helped through these situations. I enjoyed this book very much; when I was finished (and didn¿t want to be finished) I passed it on to my parents and a good friend. I think this book is great for many teens that are interested in there own life, and for all parents of teen girls.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2003

    Eye-Opener

    This book was a real eye opener. It had things in it that I had never known about what some girls had to go through. It is kind of a depressing book, just because of some of the girls stories. For example, their parents getting divorced. That would crush anyone. Espcecially at a time in their life that is so delicate. In the book, it explains how life is like for girls that just live with one parent. Most girls would rather live with their dads because many teens don't get along with their moms because of differences. I would highly reccomend this book to teens and to moms that are recently dealing with adolescent girls.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2002

    GREAT FOR BOTH TEENAGE GIRLS AND PARENTS

    This book has helped me to bond with my family and friends significantly. My mother first read it and passed it on to me. After I read it I passed it on to my group of best friends. This book has travelled far. It has enabled us to speak openly to each other about many issues that we were ashamed of in the past. The issues raised in this book can be related to by many teenage girls. It also helps parents to understand what their daughters go through and they don't even realise it. Great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2002

    A GOOD READ

    I found this book to be interesting. The author's case studies were revealing and, in most instances, very sad. As the mother of a 13-year-old girl, it was kind of depressing to read about what she may be expected to encounter in the near future as she enters high school. Reading the case studies and examples helped me understand adolescent girls' behavior. But, I think it would be helpful if the author could provide suggestions on what to say and what to do to help girls who are going through certain situations. I would recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2002

    Eye-opening

    This is indeed an eye-opening book, with unfalteringly honest stories guaranteed to touch nerves in most teenage girls, and certainly almost any mother. There is at least one story in here for everyone, whether it brings tears to the eyes, elicits anger, or simply makes you stop and think. However, if this book has one fault, it lies in the 'what about the rest of us?' quotient. Pipher has dealt with many extreme cases, but what about the girls who have not experienced sexual abuse, or developed eating disorders, etc? Aren't they, too, affected by this 'girl-poisoning' culture? They may feel compassion for, but find it difficult to relate to, the people in the cases Pipher talks about. Despite this, though, 'Reviving Ophelia' is an incredible book, and an alarming look at what too many adolescents are having to face.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2001

    Parents of Daughters -- READ THIS BOOK

    My therapist recommended I read this book both for my daughter and myself. It really helped me to understand what happened to me in my teenage years -- even tho she states that the times are so different. I gave up my dream to be what the world or anyone else told me I was supposed to be. I LOST MYSELF. My daughter is going to be 5 next month and this book is a priceless eye-opener to any impact I can have on her future. The author gives many different examples in an attempt at showing the reader the many forms of reactions that can manifest themselves in young girls. I found that I skimmed over the ones to which I could not relate. Her style of writing is very easy to read. I never felt as though she talked above my head. THE MESSAGE IS STILL PROFOUND!! And I suggest that ANYONE with a daughter READ THIS BOOK!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2000

    Adolescence is not longer what it used to be

    In Reviving Ophelia, Dr. Mary Pipher, a clinical psychologist, takes an in-depth look at adolescent girls and the factors in their lives that cause such behaviors such as dropping out of school, depression, eating disorders, drug and sex experimentation, and frequent attempts at suicide. Pipher associates these behaviors with the cultural changes that have occured over time. The author shares story after story of young women and the struggles they face with finding their identity, as well as dealing with the cultural pressures such as body image, drugs and alcohol, and sex and violence. According to Pipher, adolescence, which used to involve distancing oneself from parents, finding one's identity, and making transistions from childhood to adulthood, now involves dealing with so much more. Adolescents must now also deal with what society is throwing at them. In her book, Pipher recounts an 'African saying, 'It takes a village to raise a child' and most girls no longer have a village.' Adolescent girls no longer have a protected place where family and peers can teach them and guide them into adulthood. Dr. Pipher states the importance of making our world safe for adolescent girls. Dr. Pipher has written a thought-provoking piece that forces all readers to become aware of the dangers that our adolescents girls are facing in today's world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2000

    3 Twelve year old girls give their commentary

    All three of these girls enjoyed the book, but all felt that it was definitely more valuable to their parents than to themselves.A quote from each girl follows: Shandi: 'This book is an excellent book for parents of teenage girls...it helps them understand what their daughters are going through.' Sophie: 'I thought this book encourages girls to be more outgoing, but in parts I thought Phiper was blaming the girls for something that wasn't really their fault.' Lizzie: 'This book is one for parents. A girl reading it might become flustered by being told her own faults. It is a good source for parents who struggle with their daughters' choices.' So, there you go--out of the mouths of babes and pretty concise, I think, as a parent of a twelve year old.

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