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Trick Mirror

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  9,491 ratings  ·  1,298 reviews
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 20th 2019 by Fourth Estate (first published August 6th 2019)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,491 ratings  ·  1,298 reviews

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Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd read Jia Tolentino's grocery lists if she let me.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an outstanding, rigorously researched and written collection of cultural criticism. I really admired the depth of thought here. I felt like each essay was a master class on how to write cultural criticism. I was definitely taking notes. Some of the essays ran too long and could use some tightening but that is a subjective opinion. I was particularly interested in the essay about the UVA rape case and the one about uncritical feminism and how it can flatten discourse in really troubling ...more
4.5 stars

I have to start this review by sharing that when I finished the last essay of Trick Mirror, “I Thee Dread,” I literally started clapping and whisper screaming “oh my god, Jia really did that” and “ugh, queen of delivering a fatal blow to the capitalist patriarchal wedding industrial complex, we stan a self-aware icon.” Mind you, this fanboying took place while I sat alone on my couch in my apartment, where I’m typing this review right now. “I Thee Dread” serves both as an essay about
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2019
Lucid and enlightening, the essays of Jia Tolentino’s debut collection Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion consider what it means for Millennial women to navigate a culture of spectacle, scam, and oppression. In sharp prose across nine essays Tolentino takes on everything from the troubling rise of athleisure to America’s obsession with reality television, difficult women, and weddings. Sketching brilliant fragments of cultural criticism for the digital age, the author demystifies ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recently my rad friend B and I got into it about Roxanne Gay's Bad Feminist, which I loudly do not like. B argued that it was wrong of me to judge it so harshly because I was not taking into account the deep biases I bring to my own reading. I remain unrepentant because those essays are extremely bad, but I do acknowledge that I am only a combination of my life's influences: I grew up solidly middle-class, I am a cis-het woman and a Jew of European heritage, I went to a good liberal arts ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel awful terrible giving such a low review because i was so so so excited for this to the point where I refused to read any press so I could have a pure unmediated experience... but only like 3 of the essays in here were good: the ones where she reflects on her own life. Which is funny because I used to get kind of annoyed at the way she would unnecessarily drop in details about her life into unrelated articles à la girl-who-went-to-Barthelona.

I think there really is an inherent difference
I don't know if I’m going to have the time to write about this in the depth I would like, so I will just say that I finished Trick Mirror feeling I’d probably read any article Jia Tolentino writes about any topic, and I’d definitely read her memoirs. The personal stories woven through these essays bring the book to vibrant life. The autobiographical essays tend to be the strongest, particularly ‘Reality TV Me’, in which Tolentino revisits her experience of competing on a TV show at the age of 16 ...more
I enjoy Tolentino's writing a lot. The standout essay to me is still "Ecstasy" which I read back when it came out in the New Yorker earlier this year. Some of her ideas are left a bit unexamined, in my view. They were more explanatory than critical, so as a primer in contemporary topics, it's great. But it did leave a bit to be desired.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, non-fiction
This is an incredibly strong essay collection, brought down by a first essay that did not work for me and made picking this back up difficult for me. But once I finished that first essay, Jia Tolentino gives the reader an incredibly well-structured and presented collection. I know why this was one of my most anticipated reads for this year.

Jia Tolentino writes about many different things but always through a lense of feminism and internet culture – something I particularly adore as a feminist
I really loved this. I’ve been reading Jia Tolentino’s stuff ever since she started at Jezebel- we’re roughly the same age and she got assigned stuff I was guaranteed to click on, so I’ve read a fair amount. Some of her NYer pieces were even better, after she was freed from needing to write in Internet witty speak all the time and could show other tricks and styles she had up her sleeve. And I’d say those two voices and experiences are about equally on display here, to mostly utterly fantastic ...more
Conor Ahern
If the attendees of my gay book club and various members of grouptexts are any indication, the Jia hype is for real. She has become something of a tribune for the millennial generation: funny and razor sharp, introspective and curious, she writes in a way that very often feels inspired. I followed Jia as she developed through stints at the Awl, the Hairpin, Jezebel, and finally the New Yorker, where she seems to have finally encountered an audience commensurate to her talents and the importance ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get used to Jia Tolentino's style of writing (the essays jump around a bit at times and get a little stream of consciousness-y) but there are some real gems in this collection. For me she's at her best when talking about social media, gender, women and media, but I found something to admire or enjoy in almost all of the essays in this personal collection.

Thank you Netgalley and 4th Estate for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-most-loved

An essay collection that's Fresh, Brilliant, Cerebrally Stimulating and Boundary-Expanding (for this Gen-X male, to be sure).

The New Yorker has to be proud to have Jia Tolento as its millennial cultural critic.

For the first time since I do not recall when, I am fired up about spending a few hours of my weekend revisiting several favorite parts of a book and writing a 5-star review.

I am grateful to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a mixed bag.

The first essay, The I in Internet, is excellent.

Always Be Optimizing had some great ideas but a bit circular and seemed to be holding something back.

The personal experience essays, Reality TV Me and Ecstacy were diverting enough, I enjoyed them.

Some of the essays cover some really well-worn ground at this point. Often, the context and asides are too heavy on research and info-dumping that isn’t fully relevant, or it’s just dull. Several times I
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wowee this girl knows how to write! Articulate, insightful, intelligent and informative. A true voice of her generation.
Claire Reads Books
Fantastic The nine essays in this razor-sharp collection circle around the notions of identity and the self that have become all-important and inescapable in the Internet era. With remarkable clarity and her formidable intellect, Tolentino highlights the distortions and self-delusions that have festered on digital platforms and begun to spread into our analog lives—and she considers the intellectual rewiring that might be necessary to free us from our overinflated selves. Highly recommended – ...more
Matthew Quann
An easy personal stand-out for personal non-fiction book of the year, Trick Mirror is an essay collection that touches on feminism, its intersection with the internet, our modern preoccupations with external appearance, and honestly staggering amounts of other good stuff. It's a bit tough to summarize a book that features an essay of complex analysis of the institute of marriage alongside one about taking ecstasy, religion, and DJ Screw.

Suffice to say that this is an audiobook that is packed to
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to take breaks between these essays. They are so sharp and juicy and confronting, and needed time to absorb. This is the kind of book that makes you want to avoid reading anything else for a while, so that its ideas can keep ping-ponging around your brain undiluted. Between the waves of dread and horror at what the world (and more specifically, my own generation) has become, this book has also given me a thread of hope and clarity as to how I might change my habits, expectations, and ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trick Mirror is both a timely and relevant book featuring essays with more heart, soul, power and FIRE in their words than any other work of nonfiction I have enjoyed in 2019. Talented New Yorker Tolentino shows promise in terms of following in the incredibly successful footsteps of writers such as Zadie Smith whose own glorious collections of long-form pieces stoked my imaginatory fire at the time. The pieces are full of breadth and depth that makes them not only a pleasure to read but ...more
Dec 04, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I've been waiting for this book! She's written so many great, important things, but my favorite is still this review of 'Rude' for The Hairpin.

3.75/5. Out of the four non-fiction books I read this month for #NonFictionNovember (all of them feminist memoirs or essays), this one took me the longest to read. In comparison to the other books, Trick Mirror demanded the most from me as a reader — not because of its subject matter (even though a few essays deal with some potentially triggering content, such as rape), but because of how it is written. Jia Tolentino is undoubtedly very, very smart. She writes in a way that's easy to follow for ...more
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure I get the hype about Tolentino. Many times, I wanted to scream GET TO THE POINT with these essays. She goes off on tangents and reading this became more of an exercise in perseverance than anything else. I’d give it 2.5 stars but rounded up.
This was my first time reading Tolentino, but it won't be my last. I've been reading this book off and on since it released two months ago, which might be the best way to approach it. I went in for the Twitter essay that launches the collection -- recommended to me by a friend after I defected from there for my own mental wellness -- but I was treated to so much smart, savvy, well-researched insight into the reality of being a millennial in today's America. Better yet, Tolentino isn't a white ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Tolentino's breadth of knowledge is impressive, and her essays are fluid, assured and (often) insightful. Particularly strong are "The I in the Internet," which outlines how social media has distorted our sense of scale and reality, and "The Cult of the Difficult Woman," in which Tolentino challenges contemporary notions of feminism. Other pieces in her collection are less successful – some a bit of a slog, and others reading more like extensive outlines of ...more
Gretchen Rubin
I love essays so couldn't wait to read this. Side note: Tolentino seems to be a major lover of children's literature.
David Wineberg
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror is particularly difficult to review. It failed me, but I know with total certainty that it will be praised as precious in many quarters. So I have to appreciate it for what it is, and not what it didn’t do for me. It will appeal to a large and specific audience, and that needs to be recognized in any review of it. I learned this from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, who, to my young amazement, gave an Arnold Schwarzenegger film their thumbs-up, knowing that it had no ...more
Trick Mirror is the perfect commentary on the twenty-first century- two thumbs up!

I devoured Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror I was blown away by the writing and how well thought out each essay is. It is clear that Tolentino’s fingers are on the pulse of today’s culture from her commentary on the use of the internet/social media, feminism, “difficult women”, the rise of “scams” and the bridal culture. As a Millennial Tolentino came for my neck (as the young people would put it) in most of her
Traci at The Stacks
Mixed bag for me. First few essays didn’t land last few were very strong. Sometimes her writing was tedious and hard to connect with. Sometimes it was right on and easy to follow. I love her ideas but didn’t always love the execution.
Jia Tolentino has been the realest deal for a while and this book cements it. She's like Cheryl Strayed's intensely empathetic understanding of humanity meets what it means to be a millennial (remember, we are aged 25-38 now), and the connections she makes are affirming and scorching at the same time. Jia has a long track ahead of her and this is just the start.

**Should be noted I work for the publisher but this is my personal opinion.
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