Book Report – Reviving Ophelia

TITLE: Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

AUTHOR: Mary Pipher

WHY I READ IT: I’m trying to understand the madness which is the mind of a female teenager. A good friend recommended this book, which she read in college. She said it “explained” her, and she suddenly understood why she did what she did at that age, and why being a teenager was so difficult.

DID I LIKE IT: Good book. Interesting read.
ROBSERVATIONS: The author’s central theme is that, for many girls, transitioning from young adolescence to young womanhood involves no longer living to make yourself happy, but living to make others happy so they will accept you.

Up to age 10 or 11, most girls pursue, and live in, whatever way makes them happy. Playing sports. Excelling academically. Not putting much importance into their appearance. No worries. When they enter high school, that all changes. They suddenly encounter cultural forces which force them to adjust their lives to be accepted by their peers. They have to give up living to please themselves, and instead live to please others.

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