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Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – February 14, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (February 14, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345392825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345392824
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (426 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. Pipher's alarming tales of a generation swamped by pain may be partly informed by her role as a therapist who sees troubled children and teens, but her sketch of a tougher, more menacing world for girls often hits the mark. She offers some prescriptions for changing society and helping girls resist.

From Publishers Weekly

From her work as a psychotherapist for adolescent females, Pipher here posits and persuasively argues her thesis that today's teenaged girls are coming of age in "a girl-poisoning culture." Backed by anecdotal evidence and research findings, she suggests that, despite the advances of feminism, young women continue to be victims of abuse, self-mutilation (e.g., anorexia), consumerism and media pressure to conform to others' ideals. With sympathy and focus she cites case histories to illustrate the struggles required of adolescent girls to maintain a sense of themselves among the mixed messages they receive from society, their schools and, often, their families. Pipher offers concrete suggestions for ways by which girls can build and maintain a strong sense of self, e.g., keeping a diary, observing their social context as an anthropologist might, distinguishing between thoughts and feelings. Pipher is an eloquent advocate. Psychotherapy Book Club selection; BOMC and QPB alternates.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Mary Pipher, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding our Families and Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of our Elders. Awarded the American Psychological Association's Presidential Citation, Pipher speaks across the country to families, mental health professionals, and educators, and has appeared on Today, 20/20, The Charlie Rose Show, PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and National Public Radio's Fresh Air.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend that all parents of children read this book.
Tammy L. Schilling
Reading a book like this will help girls understand better that the teenage years and turmoil that happen are not just something that girls are going through alone.
Emily
A book of inspiration, answers, and heart touched writing, Reviving Ophelia by Dr. Mary Pipher is a moving book that will motivate young girls around the world.
Christina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

201 of 211 people found the following review helpful By Angela Moore on November 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
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.
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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful By yarden on January 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
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.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher is a wakeup call to the millions of people that are contributing to the deterioration of the teenage girl. Reviving Ophelia should definitely be read by every single young female and their parents. In fact, any person who cares about a teenage girl should read this novel. Reviving Ophelia is a book that describes the obstacles that young females are faced with today. Pipher explains why so many young girls have eating disorders. Pipher also focuses on why our culture is not a healthy environment for young females. For instance, there is too much stress on being pretty, skinny, and perfect. Young girls are overwhelmed by this pressure and are therefore, developing into someone who they are not. Pipher uses various scenerios to display how perfectly healthy female children develop into disturbed, unhealthy adolescence. Pipher does an excellent job and truly cares about helping the numbers of teenage girls that are suffering.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Revivng Ophelia, a book written by Mary Pipher, presents an honest and open look at adolescence. For the first time young girls' voices are allowed to be heard, unmuted, --the front lines of adolescence. She presents each girl's story in a strikingly candid way that inspires the reader. Throughout her book, Pipher often discusses the effects of the silent war that is raging in America. She believes that every day young girls are forced to fight to maintain their true selves in the face of societal pressures. Pipher offers herself up as an example of what may happen if one loses this daily battle. This brings a feeling of maturity and empathy to the information and guidance that she imparts in her book. The book's limited view-point on issues can be viewed as its flaw. Pipher's book presents clearly the negative issues teenage girls are forced to deal with, yet it leaves out the many positive aspects of an adolescent girl's life. This makes the book difficult to read because of the depressing and other painfully honest flow the book assumes. Mary Pipher has a point to make and she does it very well. She brings to the attention of a nation the burden of injustice and violence that its young women bear. I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to sit down and read a good book, full of insights and advice. This book is among my favorites because it helps me find different ways to view the world around me.
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