Trick Mirror - Jia Tolentino

Updated: Sep 5

Fiction/Non Fiction: Non Fiction

Themes: Feminism, Social Media, Reality TV, the millennial generation and more.

Pages: 306

One sentence summary: A reflection and critique of modern day practices that we have become so accustomed to and perhaps even blinded by.


Tolentino's debut is an addictive read, one guaranteed to make you sit back and nod in agreement. Expect many a "huh! I never thought of it like that" and "yes! That's exactly how I've felt!".

Deep diving into topics that have become so normal in our everyday lives, this analysis of modern life is one to spark discussions around the dinner table, or at least to whoever is near you or within texting distance.

Personal Thoughts:

I was hooked from the beginning. Trick Mirror's first essay revolves around performances on the internet and social media - the internet has no backstage, it's a constant performance and only now when we choose to disconnect can we truly be offline, backstage and relaxed back to ourselves. Reading this I couldn't help but there must be a link to the huge amount of imposter syndrome rife among my peers. Have we really learnt to become one person online to people please, to be judged as we wish but then struggle with maybe the truer parts of us?

Tolentino links this to performative allyship and I found myself nodding and agreeing with out loud. Opinions on the internet or any other form of media do not equal action, especially as we tend to find ourselves within echo chambers (we followed and are followed by others with similar upbringings, political views and other marginalisations). Of course we all know sexist behaviour and laws and actions are wrong. Talking about that on social media is a nice start but without the action to follow up with it becomes empty - "Opinion isn't the first step anymore, it's the final". Have those conversations with the racist family member, write to your MP about the issues you care about, donate to the causes you believe in. Don't let sharing a post be the last thing you do on a topic.

Many other topics are covered in this level of detail and I thoroughly enjoyed questioning myself and my actions. I could write paragraphs on each section (and maybe I will one day) but I'll leave you with one more thought that had me floored: have you ever thought of athleisure wear (lycra leggings and tight fitting tops as the corsets of the modern day? Controlling our bodies to the shapes most desirable? No, me neither. Back to baggy jeans for me while I recoil from that.

I'd recommend this book if you: Enjoy critiquing society or feel cynical towards parts of it.

Would I read it again? Yes, or at least refer back to it. I've underlined, scribbled down notes, asked questions on the back of those quotes.

Read this? Plan to read it? I'd love to know! Let me know in the comments below and let me know.

As part of our Rest & Reflect box, you can buy this here.

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