Reviving Ophelia

Reviving Ophelia

Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781594481888
  • 312 Pages
  • Riverhead Books
  • Adult


#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.
Reviving Ophelia

Reviving Ophelia

Written by: Mary Pipher


“An important book…Pipher shines high-beam headlights on the world of teenage girls.”
Los Angeles Times

“A must-read for all of us who care about young women in our lives…Reviving Ophelia arms us with information we can use in helping our daughters grow to adulthood with their strength intact.”
Lincoln Star Journal

“Pipher is an eloquent advocate…[she] offers concrete suggestions for ways by which girls can build and maintain a strong sense of self.”
Publishers Weekly 

“Serious and thoughtful material presented with the fluidity of good fiction.”
Kirkus Reviews

Table of Contents

Preface ….. 11Chapter 1: Saplings in the Storm ….. 17Chapter 2: Theoretical Issues – For Your Own Good ….. 29Chapter 3: Developmental Issues – “I’m Not Waving, I’m Drowning” ….. 45Chapter 4: Families – The Root Systems ….. 74Chapter 5: Mothers ….. 101Chapter 6: Fathers ….. 115Chapter 7: Divorce ….. 131Chapter 8: Within the Hurricane – Depression ….. 146Chapter 9: Worshiping the Gods of Thinness ….. 166Chapter 10: Drugs and Alcohol – If Ophelia Were Alive Today ….. 186Chapter 11: Sex and Violence ….. 203Chapter 12: Then and Now ….. 232Chapter 13: What I’ve Learned from Listening ….. 248Chapter 14: Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom ….. 260Chapter 15: A Fence at the Top of the Hill ….. 282Recommended Reading ….. 295Index ….. 297