Trick Mirror

by Jia Tolentino

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Featured image for Trick Mirror

I didn’t expect to read this cover to cover as it’s a collection of essays, but they were well written and flowed from one thing to another that they felt like a whole book and kept me turning the pages. The author is way younger than me but I was nodding away with her all the way through as she threw eloquent feminist light on life experience. A lot of the book is auto-biographical which is why it hangs together so well.

I felt the book improved as it went on though I see many other people think the early essays are better. I felt distinctly called-out in the early pages of the book when she disparaged her child-self for using starry night and pastels when writing her first webpages: those are still two of my three stock goto themes (ssssh, rainbows are the third) and I’ve been putting the web together more-or-less professionally for twenty-five years now. And her teenage reality tv experience write-up was so far outside my experience that I didn’t really know what to make of it, though I enjoyed the reflections of the group of contestants on the experience. I thought that her later explorations of rape and other sexual abuse in academia and the bizarre capitalist phenomenon of weddings were the best bits. It was an interesting read and I’ll be looking out for the author in future.