Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher


This book is written for, INTENDED for, teachers, parents and counselors. It is a book full of case histories of troubled teenaged girls drawn from the author’s counseling experiences. Four out of five community reviewers make note of its inappropriateness for teens, especially for a male audience. One community reviewer says, "I see no literary merit in this book, only social behavior exploration." Furthermore the studies of happy, well-adjusted girls are suggested as abnormal and those doomed to future problems.

Another reviewer comments:

In addition the text supports drug use that is contrary to goals of the district’s substance abuse program. Example #1: On page 190 the author lists three motives for chemical use. The first being for "expanded awareness, or the desire to increase sensitivity and insight." But does not state any warnings concerning the first motive. Example #2: Quoting page 198 (client is sixteen years old) "Danielle was already on her way to being more responsible about her alcohol use." This statement in the context it is written strongly implies that drinking alcohol is okay in moderation even at the illegal age of sixteen. Example #3: On page 201 the author states that she shares with her clients the 1,2,4 rule, which is don’t have more than one drink an hour, two drinks a day, or four drinks a week total. One of the clients in the drug and alcohol chapter is thirteen.

The chapter "Sex and Violence" does not support the abstinence goal in our health courses. The author states that "by high school some girls mature enough to be sexually active."

Another tells us,

For 21 pages (pp.62-83) I kept a record of questionable statements that lend scientific authenticity to the book which is a book of bad science.

The aforementioned problems are rampant throughout this book. I just got tired of documenting them. I feel that this book was written to inflame. Although I believe that writing to inflame is acceptable, it must be done ethically. Misrepresentation, undocumented sources, and flawed sources are not ethical methods. This book does not encourage its readers to think for themselves.


If students need a book with guidelines for reaching maturity

Dr. James Dodson’s Life on the Edge is excellent.


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