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Surviving Ophelia: Mothers Share Their Wisdom in Navigating the Tumultuous Teenage Years

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Why are the teen years fraught with crisis for so many girls? Why do so many mother-daughter relationships deteriorate drastically at this time? When her own teenage daughter began to spiral out of control, therapist Cheryl Dellasega, Ph.D., launched a nationwide search to find answers— and hope. In this inspiring, compassionate book, Dellasega shares the strength and the ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published September 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 205)
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Amy Arsenault
Interesting. I related to it. (I put my mom through hell when I was younger.) I found the stories about the mothers giving up on the daughters infuriating. If my mom had ever given up on me I would be dead. I felt that a lot of the parents were very naive though. I could have done with more interesting writing, though the true story feel (because they were, of course) was wonderful and made it worthwhile. I think this book would not be as interesting if the reader didn't relate in some way so I ...more
Marah
There is nothing in this book that is helpful. It is story after story of teenage girls in extreme distress. And in story after story, the mothers are bewildered: they have no idea how their daughters got in their extreme circumstances or how to get them out. So there's no advice for how to get extreme teen girls help. Except for one mom, who said she was so desperate she sent her daughter to Utah on a month-long survive-in-the-wilderness camp. Another mom was single and worked full-time and wen ...more
Anisa Ali
"Surviving Ophelia" caught my eye because I was interested in hearing about the struggles adolescent girls go through from their mothers' perspectives. As someone who has been involved in Gender and Women's Studies for a number of years now, I have read many personal testimonies from women who struggled with body image, eating disorders, relationships and more throughout their teenage years. But, especially thinking back to my own experiences, I became curious about how young women's mothers str ...more
Rushbug23
This book was not as insightful as i hoped it would be. It was a bunch of stories about how the teen girls was goin down hill. I only found one mother in the entire book that had a clue, that ultimately it is there life to make something of it or screw it up and some kids have to fall on their face before they get it. I have a tumultuous preteen and the best recommendation i seen in the book was the wilderness camps but no one tells u it will cost over 20 grand to send them!!!!! it only got a 2 ...more
Jenny
If you have an adolescent daughter in crisis, you should read this book for understanding and support.

If you have a daughter who is not yet a teenager and read this book, it will scare the daylights out of you.

There isn't really anything about prevention, in fact, it seems that despite many parents' best efforts their daughters still struggled through adolescence. Which girls end up in crisis and which don't, it can be random. I guess my take on it is: if there isn't anything you can do to pre
...more
Ariane Moyer
Horrible book. I can 100% tell you that the stories in this book are not properly checked for accuracy and in the case of one of the contributors a one-sided account by a self-indulgent narcissist. I am sure there are
mothers out there who struggle with the problems their teenage daughters are
facing, and the complexities of the dynamics of that relationship but the lack of responsibility and inability to see past themselves in many of these stories is disheartening. Reviving Ophelia is a much bet
...more
Leah
Finishing this book was a little like taking a dose of cod-liver oil. I know it is important, but it was so difficult. My heart tightened and my stomach lurched as mothers recounted stories of their daughters careening off into an untouchable place where they no longer responded to the love and affection offered by their families. I hope I never need any of the options suggested here, but should things start to go off a cliff, I'll start by paging through these stories looking for ideas.
Bernadette Moyer
Look for my story included in this book, Daddy Died, Leaving a Wife and Daughter. The book is filled with mother- daughter relationships and the many challenges both sides face. The mother-daughter relationship is said to be the most complicated of all relationships, it can offer the greatest rewards and the most complex challenges. The book is wonderful and truth filled and Cheryl should be applauded for writing it. Highly recommend it.
Kenley Raye
I read this book younger as a teenager who acted out against my mother trying to find maybe a clue to why I was acting this way or why things were turning out to be so horrible between us all the time. And while the book is interesting, because it is a compilation of mothers stories, it is also not what I was hoping this book. However, by chance I do own this book and my need it in the future as now I am a mother.
Jill
While an interesting read at first and my heart goes out to all parents whose teenagers experience mental health difficulties, the testimonials of mothers began to feel redundant half-way through the book and it was missing the voice of the teenagers themselves. I didn't end up finishing the entire book.
Jen
Didn't finish reading this for two reasons. First, the book was extremely sad but didn't offer much in the way of guidance, hope, or learnings. Second, the personal stories presented by different mothers did not seem to illustrate their intended points very well.
Andrea
As the mother of an Autistic daughter in the beginning stages of puberty, this book gives me hope that I will be able to weather the teen years with her, that my fears of how she will come through those years knowing she is different, are perfectly normal.
Rita
This is a very sad but very true stories. The stories that the mothers write to the author are heartbreaking.
I personally have raised one teenage daughter and my youngest daughter just turned twelve. I can very much relate to these stories.
Evie
I give this to some of my parents - they then breathe a sigh of relief that what they are facing with their adolescent girl, though emotionally wrenching, could be so much worse. A compendium of "worse case scenarios" of adolescent angst.
Lisa Moore
Great book. Every mom should read this book if they have a girl. If I have a girl, I am reading it again and then crying about the long road I have ahead of me... 20 years isn't that long is it??
Amy
Sep 23, 2011 Amy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I might not actually read this one because it seems to be the less funny version of "Get Out of My Life!" But a friend, who raised her kids in the 80s, suggested it for kicks.
Katrina
This is a "read here and there" book.
Very helpful, but luckily most of the experiences in this book are beyond ours at this time.
Thanks anyway, Mama.
Katie
I was hoping for more helpful information. It was really just a book of collections of mothers venting.
Lorelai
A fabulous book for educators! Especially those who work with teenage girls or have a teenage daughter...
Denise
Feb 27, 2009 Denise is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a teenager

Helped me get thru day to day, when I didn't know what else to do or say to her
Stephanie Furness
Not as striking as "Reviving Ophelia," of course, but I enjoyed it.
Lindsay
For any parent/individual who deals with a teenage girl(s).
Jaime
Interesting read, but left me feeling so, so sad.
sarah
recommend for all moms of teen aged girls
Uma
an interesting change in perspective
Daniel
Daniel marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2015
D Lynn
D Lynn marked it as to-read
May 31, 2015
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