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Reviving Ophelia
Stock image - cover art may vary
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0399139443
ISBN-13: 9780399139444
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Release Date: April, 1994
Length: 304 Pages
Weight: 1.35 pounds
Dimensions: 9.1 X 5.9 X 1.2 inches
Language: English

Reviving Ophelia

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At adolescence, says Mary Pipher, "girls become 'female impersonators' who fit their whole selves into small, crowded spaces." Many lose spark, interest, and even IQ points as a "girl-poisoning" society forces a choice between being shunned for staying true to oneself and struggling to stay within a narrow definition of female. P...
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Customer Reviews

  It's true...I never want to be 13 again!

I'm sure every woman can relate to this book in some way, perhaps not as a candidate for a case study, but in some tiny way. I remember feeling the "trapped" sensation as a young adult, when my impression of the life I was "told" to lead by friends and society collided with the reality I "knew" existed. Anyone struggling with an identity crisis may find some answers in this book. This is ideal for young adults and adolesents, but the content is important and should be understood by mothers and fathers alike: don't let your little girl slip into societal obscurity. This book is about breaking a stereotype...the stereotype that has left women crippled in American culture for hundreds of years.
  Sadly, very insightful

I read this book two years ago, but I feel I can still add to this debate. I encourage the teenage girls who read this book and were offended by the not-so-pretty picture it paints to go back in a few years and read it again. When I was 15 and 16, I also had no doubt that I was absolutely in control of my life. I could not see the larger forces at work, influencing the way I interacted with my friends, my parents, my boyfriend and the unrealistic demands I placed on myself. When you drive yourself to be perfect, you set yourself up to fall. By the time I read Reviving Ophelia my junior year in college, I was coping with anorexia, depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and sexual promiscuity. Ophelia showed me how my experiences in junior high and high school had left scars on my soul that manifested themselves when I was 21. I dealt with it. Girls, examine your lives and your motives. Learn from your past. Love yourself. And to those who bemoan Pipher's lack of neat little answers: Life is not a 30-minute sitcom. There are no hard and fast answers to problems as complex as these. Awareness is the first step, and that's what Pipher was trying to do in this book, not solve a centuries-old problem in a few pages. And if you think this book was repetitious, then you weren't paying attention.
   i was ophelia

despite being a bright girl who read extensively, when i was in middle school i felt dead inside like would never be happy again. i wanted to know what was wrong with me but there was no name for what i was feeling. i felt misrable, i felt ugly, i felt unworthy of anyone's attention, i felt crazy and out of control.
thankfully i could write it out. i showed some of my work to my english teacher (whose is male by the way) and he told me to read this book. finally it all made sense, me and my friends and everyone around me (church, parents, school ETC.) was buying into the feminie myth which was only perpetuated byt the intense media with junk values.
i started wotking on myself slowly. everday i would focus on a piece of me and try to accept that piece of myself. EX: one day i would focus on accepting my hair, then the next day i would focus on my eyes, then my ears, and so on. as i began to accept the outside I grew and could accept the inside. i went from a weak girl who was eager to please and trying to be perfect to a secure young woman who could express myself in "un lady like" ways. basically i gave larger society the finger and found myself.
I WAS OPHELIA! i see them everday in school even though i'm a sophmore now. This book is truth plain and simple. It should be required reading for all adolescent girls.
  It's all about your perspective

I've read a lot of reviews here by teenage girls who totally panned this book because they couldn't relate to the girls in the case studies or to Mary Pipher's observations about adolescent girls in general. I think it's great that there are so many teenage girls out there who feel so confident about themselves! But I would recommend you coming back to "Ophelia" several years down the road, once you are well out of your teenage years. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and you may find that you recognize more of these girls than you initally thought. When I was in high school, I would have described myself as basically happy, with pretty normal friends. Now that I'm 25, I can see how unhappy and insecure I really was. And while you don't recongnize any of these problems in your friends, watch out! I guarantee that there are things you don't know about your friends. Years later I learned how many of my friends had eating disorders, depression, bad self esteem, and these were not girls you would have thought ever had problems like that. One of my friends told me years later how she used to cry uncontrollably every morning because she was so depressed, but she always showed up to school looking happy every day. And she's definitely right on target with her eating disorder observations; almost every female friend of mine has some degree of eating disorder or distorted body image, and I am not exaggerating at all! (Of course, part of that could be the New York City 20something culture where thinness reigns supreme). Obviously I loved this book and have read and reread parts of it over and over.
  Rosemary for Remembrance

A recent college graduate, I am not so far away from adolescence as I would like to think! I was motivated to read this book after writing an extensive journal entry on my standard-yet-traumatic adolescence (a time which I have worked to forget!).

I now understand my own adolescence more than I ever did before. I have come to terms with issues in my own life, as well as recognizing the phenomenal job my parents did in raising me. I have identified potential areas to watch for in my own (future) daughters. I have been instilled with the desire to positively impact adolescent girls in any way I can now -- whether that be through babysitting, teaching, or just treating them with respect when they show up at the store in which I work.

I am grateful to Pipher for her interest in this subject, and the sensitivity which she exhibited in dealing with the clients who illuminate the pages of the book. I was moved to anger for the injustices our daughters are forced to endure, and fought back tears at the lack of love that many of them experience.

I was made aware of situations that I was not previously aware of: persistent yet quiet misogyny in the classroom, the self-detachment many girls undergo in order to be socially acceptable, and the simple persistence of terrible attitudes regarding sex & sexuality in our junior highs (and I was IN junior high in the early nineties!). I was reminded of cultural situations which HAVE bothered me: lookism, sexism, physical/emotional/sexual abuse.

Mostly, I have been moved from a state of defeated, dispassionate indifference to an inferno of anger against society's "junk values".

Please, if you deal with adolescent girls, read this book. It may save their lives.