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Book Review – Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler

Book Review - Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler

Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler

This year, I started a book review blog dedicated to better understanding literature and how it comes to life. I recently read a book that blew my mind and I felt that I had to share it on my Youth Matter blog. I highly recommend Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler, as I cried reading the entire book. 

“We are all aware that we have been raised in culture that cradles double standards, impossible ideals of beauty, and asks us to listen. But we are caught in the crossfire between were we have been told we should be and where we really are.”  

Book Description

At age sixteen, Sarah Shandler read Mary Pipher’s Reviving Ophelia, the national bestseller that candidly explored the unique issues that challenge girls in their struggle towards womanhood. Moved by Pipher’s insight yet driven to hear the unfiltered voices o today’s adolescent girls, Shandler yearned to speak for herself, and to provide a forum for other Ophelia’s to do so as well.  

A poignant collection of original pieces selected from more than eight-hundred contributions, Ophelia Speaks culls writing from the hearts of girls nationwide, of various races, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Ranging in age from twelve to eighteen, the voices here offer a provocative and piercingly real view on issues public and private, from body image to boys, politics to parents, school to sex. Framing each chapter are Shandler’s own personal reflections, offering bother the comfort of a trusted friend and an honest perspective from within a whirlwind of adolescence. In these pages, you will see your best friend, your daughter, your sister,- and yourself. At once filled with heartbreak and hope, in these pages Ophelia speaks.  

It doesn’t matter if you have a personal connection to the people telling the story, Ophelia Speaks by Sara Shandler will make you feel in ways you didn’t know you could before. Of course I had to read this book after reading this blurb on the back. Ranging from chapters about self-inflicted wounds, eating disorders, rape and sexual abuse, disintegrating foundations and no safe places, this book gave me purpose.  

I personally connected to the novel within many different chapters, those of which I will never be ashamed to admit, I was and still am most of these girls.  Comprised of notes filled with the honest voice from brave young woman, the lives told from across the world are important for society to hear their struggles. I wish I would have read this book earlier in my life, as I am now 19, the stories shared convey such power messages and make every reader realize they are not alone.  

I have never cried reading a book, let alone cry every time I try and get through a chapter. This book is something every young woman should read. I recommend this to every book lover, young woman, mother, sister and for those who are going through personal struggles. This book should be assigned in classrooms, gym classes as well as health class in order to give young woman the opportunity to find themselves.  You are not alone. Sharing your story could impact others and make things better.