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Ophelia Speaks

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  2,029 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
adolescent girls write about a search for self.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 28th 1999 by HarperCollins Publishers
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(showing 1-30)
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My life as a 17 year old (the entry I had published in this book) is definitely a different life than I life today!
This one was a little hard to categorize. I put it in the "parenting" section because the idea of reading adolescent girls' first hand perspective is valuable to parents, especially at a time when they may become less open with their parents. I put it in "psychology" because there are so many psychological issues that come up: depression, eating disorders, dealing with death, self image... And "feminist" because it is primarily about young women.

That being said, the very things that make this bo
Madeline Zenas
Nov 10, 2015 Madeline Zenas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

My first reading by Sara Shandler has brought everyday problems throughout young adolescent girls to my attention. Everyone knows that people face dilemmas throughout their high school careers, but know one will know each detail or exact feeling like this book gives.Ophelia Speaks follows the stories of multiple adolescent girls with multiple different dilemmas towards their everyday lives in five parts.

Part one, known as “The Body Under Assault” gives examples based on eating disorders, self-in

Jul 07, 2010 Realteenreviews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Gist

Ophelia Speaks is a collection of true writings from teenage girls across the nation, highlighting their troubles.

What We Think

Reviewed by Living Destiny

So I picked this book up in eighth grade. My seat looked right at it for maybe four months before i decided to try it. (I’m pretty sure Mr. creepy-teacher-dude recommended it to me too). I thought, eh it’ll pass the time. It ended up being really powerful and some of it really shocked me.

Sara Shandler is not really the author. She’s more
Dec 12, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**In her own words**

A-now classic book, Mary Pipher's _Reviving Ophelia_ strived to convey the struggles of adolescent girls who were coming of age in "a girl-poisoning culture." However, 17-year-old Sara Shandler realized the best way to do this would be allow the girls to speak for themselves. Passionately engaged in her mission, Sara collected over 800 contributions from adolescent girls on a variety of topics including depression, eating disorders, substance use, self-harm, sexuality, relati
Jan 12, 2010 Indira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far this book has done a good job of keeping me interested.There are alot of books out there that is like this,but don't quite connect with this book.I have read recent stories about young teenage girls wanting a desire for sex,losing friends,dying friends.I never knew that just girls would have this kind of problem.For girls it's all about independence.When you fall,you just bounce rigt back up like a bouncy ball.In this review,I wanted to focus on the chapter of a desire for sex.It's not th ...more
hmmm. weird book. i mean, i get it, in that it sought to let teens give voice to their own lives/struggles. the problem, i felt, was that there wasn't enough really there. the pieces of poetry worked better than the prose, for that reason, but i read through this so fast and really didn't learn anything new. i can't decide whether or not i think it was detrimental to have the seventeen year old author write intros to each piece - i think i would have preferred an older, more objective voice. or ...more
Jul 31, 2008 Jody rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenage girls and caregivers of teenage girls
Shandler was a teenager when she read Reviving Ophelia and felt like her voice as a teenage girl was taken from her. She identified with the stories in the book, but objected that an adult (aka superior) was presenting experience and speaking for this group of people. So Shandler collected writings from actual teenage girls and let them tell their own story on a wide variety of topics.
I read Reviving Ophelia as an adult, ex post facto if you will. I found it to be an incredibly powerful and wel
Feb 21, 2015 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book when it came out in 1999, and it was neat to see girls writing about their lives first-hand. Now, there's so many ways online to read about girls, via their own blogs or curated sites like Rookie; there's no need to ever update this book or make it again.

I would have been interested in seeing visual/art submissions, too, not just the poetry and prose that makes up the book.

There's a brief chapter on sexuality, but it only mentions lesbians and homosexuals, nothing o
Gigi Blanchard
Jul 26, 2015 Gigi Blanchard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I loved this book and the idea but took away a star because I think the editor didn't need to sprinkle her own essays which didn't have the same substance as the ones she received. Those pages would have been better filled with people who had similar problems to the Reviving Ophelia, which is the book that preceded this one. A preface of the editor's story would have been enough, I found her inserts boring. BUT I give her credit for her brilliant idea in having girls write essays and appreciate ...more
tAliA :D
May 26, 2010 tAliA :D is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading this book with a lot of short stories and i like it. This book is very interesting and tells the truth about many things that happen in peoples lives. I have been only reading a few short stories and they have been explaining about a girl and her father might of been killed by this very secret group of men who kill families. This other short story that i have read is about two sisters and the older sister goes to college and she starts missing her. They would always fight a ...more
Destiny Mcsweeney
I enjoyed reading Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler. The format of the book was especially easy for someone who doesn't read often, like me, to read and genuinely enjoy. The stories are short but with enough detail, and accurately display the problems and experiences adolescent girls face today. There is a story for every girl out there. The short contributions show young women that they are not alone; that there are others who have or are dealing with the same issues. Anyone can read anything, bu ...more
Apr 10, 2013 Melodie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In adolescence, stickers and dolls mix with sex and depression" (279).
This book does the same, mixing the innocent with the unthinkable, the child with the woman.
Sara Shandler is a terrific writer and role model for young women to emulate. At 16 (inspired by Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia), she took a brilliant concept to a publishing company, received a contract, and went about making her vision become a reality. The output, this book, is a heart-wrenching look into the deepest secrets of ad
Mollie Heil
Nov 30, 2015 Mollie Heil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for a high school sociology project, and it definitely fulfilled my expectations. I chose this book because I wanted to focus on teenage girls and how they work within our society, and this book really was the perfect candidate. It was made up of submissions from teenage girls around the world that were specific to certain topics like drugs, sex, family, friends, and much more. Each chapter was focused on one topic and consisted of 2-5 submissions. The submissions were all writt ...more
This is a good companion book to Reviving Ophelia. The writers in this book are open about some of the most painful and most wonderful experiences of their adolescence and lives as girls. Shandler wins a lot of my admiration for putting this volume together at such a young age and for selecting a truly diverse and moving array of submissions. My only complaint is that Shandler's potions of the book feel a bit too long for me. I wish she had written a longer general introduction and then let the ...more
Sep 20, 2007 Bernadette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all my friends
Shelves: 11thgradereading
This was the first book that I read in the first year of school, besides the books I read over the summer. Anyway after reading the book i thought that it was a very cool book since their were so many stories from teenage girls who have experienced so much in their life. I must say that some of the stories were really sad, but their were other stories that made me pretty happy. Even though each story was different it was pretty inspiring. The people who wrote stories have a lot of courage becaus ...more
Susan Connell Biggs
This was a powerful book. This book, her response to Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia, is a collection of essays, journal entries and poems written by adolescent girls about the challenges and joys they encountered as they searched for a sense of self. Some of these challenges are more difficult to read about: depression, suicide, and eating disorders. Others are more tender, some even funny as girls talk about important friendships and relationships. This book is a great gift the author gave girl ...more
Oct 04, 2010 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was sparked by the "Reviving Ophelia" book. Reviving Ophelia is written from a psychologist point of view. This book is written by teen girls themselves. My small complaint about the book is that it covers a wide variety of topics (which is good), but it doesn't cover any of them in any sort of detail. Usually there are 2-3 submissions on each topic (sex, rap, drugs, violence, media, eating disorders, etc.).

Overall, it was interesting and sometimes heartbreaking to read about their st
Aug 25, 2012 Stacie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had read this book when I was a teen. This book is filled with stories about life, heartbreak, and about courage and strength. I have to admit my favorite stories were the ones about feminism. That's where I really felt the strength of these women. They're all teenagers, but their writing is so powerful. They are all wise beyond their years and they give us a glimpse into our diversity. We are all different, but we all have similarities as well. This book helps to highlight those simila ...more
Nov 29, 2008 Jaclyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finally figured out why this book has taken me years to finish. I thought it was being too busy when I picked it up and put it down years ago. However, this book (inspired by "Reviving Ophelia" - brilliant but too detailed), is a collection of teenage girls responding to different topics (loss, drugs, etc). The concept of this book was good, but I felt like it only showed the negative. it was raw and real, but depressing and ultimately, unfulfilling because there was no conclusion to the stori ...more
Sophie Redmond
Sep 04, 2013 Sophie Redmond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Opelia Speaks is an extremely interesting book. I was hooked on right after the first couple of pages. in the book, there are different sections that talk about different problems teenage girls struggle through. It was really interesting reading the entries that different girls had sent in to this author, about their lives. It also very sad reading about things that girls should not have to juggle with school and other things they do. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it for people ...more
Ivy Paul
I started this book because I really liked the concept of girls telling their stories. The topics are very heavy through most of the collection, but there are some lighter contributions as well. I really enjoyed those because it reminded me of my teen years (not so long ago...) and the way my mind used to think and ramble. The biggest thing I'm taking away from this read: I think it helped me see the value of writing down my own life stories in a more thought out format, even if it's just for me ...more
Jun 29, 2011 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My summer reading project this year is to read as many of the books on the AHA Summer Reading list I haven't already read. I'm starting with the 9th grade lists(Advanced English 9 and English 9. There are 15 books on the 9th grade lists--I had already read 3 and since summer started, I've read 3 more including Ophelia Speaks. I loved "Reviving Ophelia" by Mary Pipher which was the impetus for Sara Shandler to write this book. Good perspective on a variety of topics from the voices of teenage gir ...more
May 14, 2008 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brandi Denson
Shelves: bookswap
I purchased this book when I was an adolescent just like the brave girls that share their story in its pages. This book is filled with poetry & short stories written by teenage girls struggling through problems many face: body image, eating disorders, academic pressure, friendship, depression, abuse, bad relationships, drugs, alcohol, poverty, spirituality/religion and more. Any woman or girl should be able to find at least two stories in this book that she'll hold close to her heart forever ...more
Sep 10, 2007 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone mom with a daughter
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was a follow-up to the book "Reviving Ophelia." It is told from the point of view of teenagers who are dealing with the influences, abuse, stereotypes, etc. that every girls faces at some point on her life. Ror those mom's (and dad's) who want to really connect with their daughters and be able to talk to them like you might just have some insight that they could relate to this book is a must!
Sep 25, 2007 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents, Teachers, Young Women, Psychologists, School Counselors
This book was a wonderfull book. It is a compilations of true stories that relate to differents subjects such as body image, eating disorders, suicide, self mutilation, relationships, etc. Basically everything a young woman goes through. This is definitely a book every parent, educator, psychologist, school couselor, etc needs to read to really understand what todays generation of young women go through, their true thoughts on issues, and the perspective on issues.
Jul 22, 2010 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Completely honest and to the point, Ophelia Speaks offers a look into the lives of teenage girls from all over the United States. These are direct letters from real girls, so some of the writing is clumsy, but it only adds to the charm of the book. I think this is an important book for not only girls to read- but parents also, as it offers unique and direct insight into real situations that show up in our day to day lives.
Dec 08, 2008 Janine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was 16 and would recommend that any young woman around that age pick it up. At 26, I still pick it up every now and then and read a few of the stories. The stories Sara Shandler collected are refreshing and are the type of stories many young women can relate to. Although there are dozens of books about the adolescent female experience, this one has the most honest voice.
Jan 22, 2008 Miabia20 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was a teenager, I related to many of the stories in the book and some I felt I could not relate to but felt that many young teens have a life harder then mines.I think this book is a good teen read, so read it when your in high school, the little things that you worry about in your life you would not worry about after you read this book.
Kate Gorman
Jan 24, 2011 Kate Gorman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this when I was like 18, after I read Reviving Opehelia. It is a great look into the mind of a teenage girl. If you think being a teenager was tough , try being a teenage girl. Ophelia Speaks looks at every aspect of being a teenage girl and allows realistic views of what that would be (whether tough or easy) . Hard and honest.. Ophelia Speaks is great insight into the teenage psyche.
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Sara Shandler is currently a student at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. A former president of the Connecticut Valley Region of B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, she has led, represented, and influenced large numbers of adolescent girls. She is a native of Amherst, Massachusetts.
More about Sara Shandler...

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