Cover image for Reviving Ophelia : saving the selves of adolescent girls
Reviving Ophelia : saving the selves of adolescent girls
Pipher, Mary Bray.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
304 pages, 12 unnumbered pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Includes Readers guide ([12] p.) by Mary Pipher.
Saplings in the storm -- Theoretical issues--for your own good -- Developmental issues--"I'm not waving, I'm drowning" -- Families--the root systems -- Mothers -- Fathers -- Divorce -- Within the hurricane--Depression -- Worshiping the gods of thinness -- Drugs and alcohol--if Ophelia were alive today -- Sex and violence -- Then and now -- What I've learned from listening -- Let a thousand flowers bloom -- A fence at the top of the hill.
Reading Level:
900 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.7 19.0 19794.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.5 22 Quiz: 09711 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ798 .P57 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HQ798 .P57 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
HQ798 .P57 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Why are more American adolescent girls prey to depression, eating disorders, addictions, and suicide attempts than ever before? According to Dr. Mary Pipher, a clinical psychologist who has treated girls for more than twenty years, we live in a look-obsessed, media-saturated, "girl-poisoning" culture. Despite the advances of feminism, escalating levels of sexism and violence--from undervalued intelligence to sexual harassment in elementary school--cause girls to stifle their creative spirit and natural impulses, which, ultimately, destroys their self-esteem. Yet girls often blame themselves or their families for this "problem with no name" instead of looking at the world around them. Here, for the first time, are girls' unmuted voices from the front lines of adolescence, personal and painfully honest. By laying bare their harsh day-to-day reality, Reviving Ophelia issues a call to arms and offers parents compassion, strength, and strategies with which to revive these Ophelias' lost sense of self.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Pipher, a clinical psychologist who has worked extensively with adolescent girls, convincingly argues that girls today are actually more oppressed than their mothers were because they must grow up in a ``more dangerous, sexualized and media-saturated culture.'' This atmosphere has destroyed the happiness of many teenage girls and has led to a frightening increase in self-destructive behavior. Pipher's descriptions of adolescents' lives--then and now--are particularly well done. Included are thoughtful recommendations for parents and a plea for changing the direction of our culture. All parents with daughters should read this eye-opening work. Highly recommended. BOMC, Quality Paperback Book Club, and Psychotherapy Book Club selections.-- January Adams, ODSI Research Lib., Raritan, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Reviving Ophelia is my attempt to understand my experiences in therapy with adolescent girls. Many girls come into therapy with serious, even life-threatening problems, such as anorexia or the desire to physically hurt or kill themselves. Others have problems less dangerous but still more puzzling, such as school refusal, underachievement, moodiness, or constant discord with their parents. Many are victims of sexual violence. As I talked to these girls, I became aware of how little I really understood the world of adolescent girls today. It didn't work to use my own adolescent experience from the early 1960s to make generalizations. Girls were living in a whole new world.... Even in our small city with its mostly middle-class population, girls often experienced trauma. How could we help girls heal from that trauma? And what could we do to prevent it? This last year I have struggled to make sense of this. Why are girls having more trouble now than my friends and I had when we were adolescents? Many of us hated our adolescent years, yet for the most part we weren't suicidal and we didn't develop eating disorders, cut ourselves, or run away from home.... But girls today are much more oppressed. They are coming of age in a more dangerous, sexualized, and media-saturated culture. They face incredible pressures to be beautiful and sophisticated, which in junior high means using chemicals and being sexual. As they navigate a more dangerous world, girls are less protected. As I looked at the culture that girls enter as they come of age, I was struck by what a girl-poisoning culture it was. The more I looked around, the more I listened to today's music, watched television and movies and looked at sexist advertising, the more convinced I became that we are on the wrong path with our daughters. America today limits girls' development, truncates their wholeness, and leaves many of them traumatized.... What can we do to help them? We can strengthen girls so that they will be ready. We can encourage emotional toughness and self-protection. We can support and guide them. But most important, we can change our culture. We can work together to build a culture that is less complicated and more nurturing, less violent and sexualized and more growth-producing. Our daughters deserve a society in which all their gifts can be developed and appreciated. I hope this book fosters a debate on how we can build that society for them. Excerpted from Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.