Summary and book reviews of Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler

Ophelia Speaks

Adolescent Girls Write About Their Search for Self

by Sara Shandler

Ophelia Speaks
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  • First Published:
    Oct 1999, 285 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 1999, 285 pages

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Book Summary

A poignant collection of original pieces selected from more than eight hundred contributions, Ophelia Speaks culls writings from the hearts of girls nationwide, of various races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

At age sixteen, Sara Shandler read Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia, the national bestseller that candidly explored the unique issues that challenge girls in their struggle toward womanhood. Moved by Pipher's insight yet driven to hear the unfiltered voices of today's adolescent girls, Shandler yearned to speak for herself, and to provide a forum for other Ophelias to do so as well.

A poignant collection of original pieces selected from more than eight hundred contributions, Ophelia Speaks culls writings from the hearts of girls nationwide, of various races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Ranging in age from twelve to eighteen, the voices here offer a provocative and piercingly real view on issues public and private, from body image to boys, politics to parents, school to sex. Framing each chapter are Shandler's own personal reflections, offering both the comfort of a trusted friend and an honest perspective from within the whirlwind of adolescence.

In these pages, you will see your best friend, your daughter, your sister--and yourself. At once filled with heartbreak and hope, in these pages Ophelia speaks.

Media-Fed Images

I was a media-fed child. I can't remember a time when the television wasn't my favorite baby-sitter, my most reliable companion, my preferred role model. The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Head of the Class, Different Strokes, and Fame jumped out of the fluorescent tube and planted expectations in my preadolescent mind. Every Thursday, in health class, the After-School Special offered a "realistic" view of years to come. For years I wished my name was Sam because I positively idolized Samantha Miscelli on Who's the Boss. Then, after years of preparation, of longing to talk on the phone, go out with my friends, and wear mascara, I finally became a teenager.

Adolescence is not what I thought it would be. Happy endings aren't inserted conveniently before the last commercial break. The peer pressure isn't unrelenting, the wild parties aren't dangerously tempting, the first loves aren't thrillingly perfect. But, more unsettling than the ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Library Journal

Shandler, an undergraduate at Wesleyan University, envisioned this book as a response to Mary Pipher's national best seller Reviving Ophelia, and it certainly lives up to her expectations.

Publishers Weekly

Shandler has done an admirable job of shaping the disparate pieces into a disturbing mosaic that reveals the seriousness of teenage problems.

Reader Reviews

kmichell

inspirational
In reading this book I found a way to say all the things about my life that I had not been able to articulate. Having battled anorexia and bulimia and self-cutting for many years, I felt lost and alone. The book is so raw and real, I feel like the ...   Read More

Chelsey

I read Ophelia Speaks for the first time when I was 11, my sister brought it to me shortly after I was admitted into my first psychiatric hospital. I related to the book in so many ways. I've been sexually abused and was cutting myself for five ...   Read More

Jessika

Ophelia Speaks was there for me in a way that no one ever could be. Just reading those stories made me feel not so alone in everything. It helped me through so many rough times. It covers so many topics that whenever I needed something to help me I ...   Read More

where'smymind

i recieved this book from my mother when i was going through some major depression last year, before i started to see a councelor.

i didn't read the book right away. i tossed it under my bed with all my other books that i decided not to read, and ...   Read More

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