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Reviving Ophelia [Kindle Edition]

Mary Pipher , Ruth Ross
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (453 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $8.82
You Save: $7.18 (45%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

#1 New York Times Bestseller

The groundbreaking work that poses one of the most provocative questions of a generation: what is happening to the selves of adolescent girls?


As a therapist, Mary Pipher was becoming frustrated with the growing problems among adolescent girls. Why were so many of them turning to therapy in the first place? Why had these lovely and promising human beings fallen prey to depression, eating disorders, suicide attempts, and crushingly low self-esteem? The answer hit a nerve with Pipher, with parents, and with the girls themselves. Crashing and burning in a “developmental Bermuda Triangle,” they were coming of age in a media-saturated culture preoccupied with unrealistic ideals of beauty and images of dehumanized sex, a culture rife with addictions and sexually transmitted diseases. They were losing their resiliency and optimism in a “girl-poisoning” culture that propagated values at odds with those necessary to survive.   

Told in the brave, fearless, and honest voices of the girls themselves who are emerging from the chaos of adolescence, Reviving Ophelia is a call to arms, offering important tactics, empathy, and strength, and urging a change where young hearts can flourish again, and rediscover and reengage their sense of self.


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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3813 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0091815002
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; 1 edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002CIY8YC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,673 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
219 of 232 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, very insightful 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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87 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rosemary for Remembrance January 31, 2000
By yarden
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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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reviving Ophelia April 7, 2000
By A Customer
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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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i was ophelia April 5, 2005
By allie M
Format:Paperback
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A most read for all girls...
Published 1 hour ago by sandra logan
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opener
As a middle-aged woman, wife, and mother of a daughter nearing her middle 20s, I so wish I had known about this book at a time when I could have helped her navigate through... Read more
Published 12 days ago by D. Dietandy
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Very out of date. Predates internet even.
Published 25 days ago by Deborah J.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Delivered promptly - was needed for daughters English class.
Published 1 month ago by Heidi F.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very pleased
Published 1 month ago by JulieAnne
4.0 out of 5 stars I like the insight the author provides
I read this book as a teenager and read it again as an adult and although I disagree with some of the views expressed in this book, I like the insight the author provides, it does... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jenny Fletes
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic! A must read for all anthropologists, psychologists ...
Classic! A must read for all anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists.
Published 3 months ago by Ebuhwho?
5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate and usefull information
While this book is addressing girls' problems in the 1990's (author's experiences), it is just as applicable now. Read more
Published 3 months ago by fitzpfpd
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
fantastic book! EVERY FEMALE SHOULD READ THIS!
Published 4 months ago by BritAsh
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very insightful to what young girls experience in middle to high school.
Published 4 months ago by Sonja Gutierrez
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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.


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