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Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls [Paperback]

By Mary Bray Pipher, Terry A. Bustillos, Debbie Tilley (Illustrator), Peggy Swartzel Lott (Illustrator), Rob Hills (Illustrator) & C. A. Rodger
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Item Specifications...

Pages   304
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 8.5" Height: 5.5"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2005
Publisher   Riverhead Trade
Age  18
ISBN  1594481881  
EAN  9781594481888  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Describes the psychological pitfalls faced by teenage girls growing up in a dangerous world in which violence, sexual harassment, eating disorders, promiscuity, and drug use have become the norm.

Publishers 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.

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More About Mary Bray Pipher, Terry A. Bustillos, Debbie Tilley, Peggy Swartzel Lott, Rob Hills & C. A. Rodger

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Mary Pipher, Ph.D., is a psychologist and the author of nine books, including the New York Times bestsellers Reviving Ophelia, The Shelter of Each Other, and Another Country, as well as Seeking Peace and Writing to Change the World. She lives in Nebraska.

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Product Categories
1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Social Sciences > Psychology > Developmental   [429  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > Adolescent Psychology   [911  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > General   [10909  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Self-Help > Self-Esteem   [972  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > Parenting > Teenagers   [622  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Ophelia...terrific!  Oct 5, 2008
Excellent book. Extremely informative. I had to read this for a class but would recommend it to anyone with adolescent girls at home or on the verge of becoming!
A Must Read for All Young Girls  Oct 4, 2008
This book is a must read for all young girls and their mothers. I read this book when I was an adolescent almost 10 years ago, and I still think it is an excellent and valuable book. Mary Pipher complied gripping stories from young girls and shared them in a way that adolescents and their parents can relate to and it helps them feel validated emotionally. Even after so many years, I still wholeheartedly recommend this book.
A must-read for all women and parents  Sep 30, 2008
I just finished reading Reviving Ophelia (Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls) by Dr Mary Pipher. Pipher is a therapist specializing in family and adolescence. Before writing this book, she wrote a book about eating disorders and while working on that, she noticed a phenomenon among her patients as well as her own teen girls. She says that when you speak to a 9 yr old girl, she is full of life, curiosity, energy, joy. You talk to her a few years later, age 13,14, and you want to shake her and ask "is there anyone in there?????" She wrote this book to explain what is happening at this point, why it happens, and how to prevent teen girls from losing their selves - because once this happens they typically develop problems such as addiction, promiscuity, eating disorders, etc.

It's a long, dense book but it's a fascinating read. She includes dozens upon dozens of cases. Most of the girls and families she talks about have come to her because they are having serious issues, but she also describes many cases in which the girls managed to avoid getting into trouble. She interviews "successful girls" in order to show that it is possible to grow up in today's culture and still come out relatively unscathed. To a large extent, it's our culture that she blames for the problems. She wrote this about 10 years ago but the culture she describes is very much like today's (although today is much worse if you factor in all the temptations and dangers of internet, IM'ing etc). Girls today grow up bombarded with messages about sexuality, violence, the pressure to be thin, to be materialistic, to drink and smoke. Our culture often does not distinguish between sex and violence. Girls are caught in a confusing situation as they are encouraged to be attractive and appealing, yet they may be told not engage in sex or they may not feel ready, but if they dress in a way that's considered by their peers to be attractive, and they limit or avoid sexual activity, they are labeled a "tease" and harassed and ridiculed. Pipher describes a scary, confusing world for the average US Middle Schooler in which she will be judged solely based on her looks, since most middle schools are large and that is the most natural way to judge people, and in which even walking down a hallway can be a horrible exercise as boys will pinch, nudge, verbally abuse her. Pipher also places heavy emphasis on the way we socialize our boys, which I found very original and when you think about it, obvious. It made me think about the fact that I tell my children that nobody can touch their privates unless my husband or I are around, etc., but I need to take it one step further and in the near future begin to drill it into my son's head that he needs to be sensitive and respectful toward girls. Also, many of her patients were in trouble because of promiscuity, drugs, alcohol - and through therapy they discovered that they had been molested or raped when they were very young but they had never told anyone. After I read that part, I began talking to the kids about how if God forbid that should happen to them, the bad people who do that can be very sick people and try to convince them that if they tell us, we will be hurt - and that it isn't true.

The book is disturbing in that it makes you think about how difficult our job as parents is and will be when the kids are teens, and if we have girls, we've definitely got our work cut out for us. But it's also hopeful in that Pipher says that all these cultural pressures, peer pressure, the natural rebellion a teen must undergo in order to assert her/his identity in the family and in the world - all of this can be much less painful if the parents are 1) loving and 2) disciplinarians. She goes into detail about various families, their dynamics, their structure (or lack thereof), and so on - and she clearly shows how parents who are very laid-back, let their children discover the world and themselves basically on their own for the sake of creativity and individuality - these are the children that will feel lost in adolescence and will become problems. At the other extreme, parents that have strict households and are aloof and unattached will also have problem children. The key is to be firm but loving. "Certain kinds of homes help girls hold on to their true selves. These homes offer girls both protection and challenges. These are the homes that offer girls affection and structure. Girls hear the message 'I love you, but I have expectations.' In these homes, parents set firm guidelines and communicate high hopes. With younger children, rules are fine,but with teenagers, guidelines make more sense...It's important to remember that rules, in the absence of loving relationships, are not worth much. Almost anyone can figure out how to break rules. What holds girls' lives in place is love and respect for their parents."

Pipher is definitely a feminist and she urges us to look at the mass media with our kids and basically teach them how to filter the messages. Look at magazines with them and talk about how the kids are dressed, etc, and what kind of message that is sending? Watch TV, movies, and talk about the visuals. She says we live in a lookist society where it's all based on looks - talk about this with the kids, make them more sensitive to it. She also talks about how as parents we provide them examples of gender roles. "Parents can help daughters be whole by modeling wholeness. Androgynous parents are the best. Good fathers are nurturing, physically affectionate and involved in the lives of their daughters. Good mothers model self-sufficiency and self-love and are responsive, but not responsible for their family members." Time and again she cautions against being the overbearing mother who micromanages the kids.

Something else I found interesting is when she points out that the most successful female adults tend to be the ones who were on the fringes in middle and high school. She says that the girls who were popular often turn into less satisfied adults. The most well-adjusted, satisfied adults are those who while growing up had to endure difficult circumstances. She says that the rejection these girls suffered made them create a protective space in which to develop their uniqueness. In their isolation, these girls turned to or developed certain passions (reading, music, a social cause larger than themselves, athletics, etc). These passions were a place to escape to when the school hallways were too painful. "The girls who seem the happiest in junior high are often not the healthiest adults. They may be the girls who have less radar with which to pick up signals about reality. While this may be protective when the signals come fast and furious, later they may miss information. Or they may be the girls who don't even try to resolve contradictions or make sense of reality. They may be relatively comfortable, but they will not grow." In other words, if your daughter isn't in the popular crowd as a teen, consider yourself lucky I guess! (Phew, thank God I was a reject!)

Anyway, this "summary" is already way too long. And I could keep going, but I need my coffee. The book jacket urges all parents and teachers to read it but I'd go a step further and recommend all women read it. Even if you don't have a daughter, and you don't work with kids, as a woman you will invariably relate to much of what Pipher says. You will find yourself thinking back to your own childhood and adolescence and analyzing it in a way you perhaps never have. Additionally, I realized several times that as a woman you never leave adolescence. There's the joke that men never mature past age 16, but I believe that women are constantly in flux the way teens are, as we search for our identities with each new life phase. We are also subjected to this lookist society and culture that encourages a youthful, sexy image while being professionally successful, raising wonderful children and having an immaculate home. Perhaps reading this will remind us that teen girls aren't aliens from an enemy planet after all.

Now onto her newer book, "Writing to Change the World"...
It worked for us  Sep 2, 2008
All I can say is I had problems with a good kid. The school's guidence counsler recommended Reviving Ophelia. I couldnt put it down.

It doesnt tell you what to do but it does give an understanding of what young girls are up against and what may be going through their heads.In our case it was spot on. With this knowledge you can pry and get a feeling what might be in your kid's head.

Some people are giving this book a basic rating. I dont know how they could unless they have an ax to grind or bigger issues than those in the book. As a layman I'll take a book of case studies over one person's opinion any day. No mold fits all

Best to you and your kids.
Hopefully there are better books for our girls than this ...  Jun 1, 2008
While the book had some insights, I nevertheless found it simplistic, unscientific and disappointing. Whoever gave Mary Pipher her Ph.D. must be cringing. The usual suspects are to blame for the problems plagueing our young girls, including the 'feminist' fan favorite, the 'girl-poisioning' society. If you like this kind of pop psychology, then this book is for you. If you are a more serious reader, then move onto something else and save your money. I particularly like the section in the book where Dr. Pipher mentions that '...she knows very little about [the psychology] of boys...' and then spends the next several pages proving it. It can be argued that growing up today is harder than in previous generations and our young girls need help. Sadly, so does this book.

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