Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Reviving Ophelia

I am at a loss at where to begin about this fantastic book I just finished. Selfishly I think I'd rather just keep these thoughts to myself, allowing the ideas to ruminate and grow and evolve within me. However the subject of this book is just too important not to share with you.

The book is subtitled "Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls". It is written by clinical psychologist Mary Pipher about her work with teenage girls over her lengthy career in therapy. She wanted to study the phenomenon of girls falling prey to such dangers as depression, eating disorders, abuse, and suicide attempts. Personally I had what I would consider a fairly healthy and uneventful time during my teen years, however this book spoke to the very core of me. Pipher delves into the need for teen girls to find their true selves and the struggle to stay true to that through the turbulence of culture, peer pressure, parents, media, boys, and the hundreds of other areas which impact these few but important years. Her insights are eerily accurate and each page provides insight into why we girls do what we do.

This book is a must read - for parents of girls, people who work with girls, and all girls in general. I wonder if I had read it as a teen what my reaction would have been? They say hindsight is 20/20 - and perhaps as a teen I might have been too self-absorbed and self-assured to understand the truths found within these pages. But I am grateful to have had those seemingly chaotic and crazy years dissected for me, so that I may understand more about myself, and be readied for the inevitable work I will one day do with teenage girls.

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