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Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion

Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self-delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives. This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves around the self. In each essay, Jia writes about the cultural prisms that have shaped her: the rise of the nightmare social internet; the American scammer as millennial hero; the literary heroine’s journey from brave to blank to bitter; the mandate that everything, including our bodies, should always be getting more efficient and beautiful until we die.

Author: Jia Tolentino | Publisher: Random House

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Rating: 3 / 5

I know a lot of people really liked this book. Personally, I didn’t hate it, but I really didn’t love it. I felt like while Tolentino had good points, that’s all she had. She didn’t have good conclusions (because she didn’t have any conclusions at all). Some essays were better than others, and some paragraphs were better than others.

Tolentino wrote this collection in order to figure out the answers to questions she had in her mind — questions about the internet, and social media, and regular media, and advertising, and the way we exist in the world today. And you can really tell that this is how and why she wrote — the essays read as an almost stream of consciousness, with little editing. To me, the effect comes off a little full of itself.

Some people in my bookclubs said that each of these essays were like “an episode of Black Mirror” or that they had them waking up from nightmares thinking, “Who am I?!” But my reaction to the end of each one was more like, “Okay, next essay.”

When she dives into accounts of events that have happened in the past, she’s interesting. When she tries to make sweeping statements about how that connects to our lives today, she isn’t. She just says a lot without saying much of anything at all. Certainly nothing new.

Like I said — some moments were really good. Some of it did make me think. But not one whole essay, and not the whole book.

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