Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror Review
By: Kate Wroblewski
Trick Mirror is a collection of nine different essays about trying to survive the 21st century. These essays address things like scammer culture, internet culture, and contemporary feminism. As I was reading through the essays, it did not seem like I was reading just a book. It felt very much so like I was reading a book on self-improvement. It really opened up my eyes to how the internet can really change our perspective on differing topics.
The first essay discusses how the internet ended up in the state it is today. How we started with almost nothing on the internet, to now having endless forms of media online. How social media is one of our main forms of identity and take up a lot of our attention each day. She discussed how the internet engages in a lot of scams that we do not even understand to be misleading. The biggest scam she talks about is Trump’s rise to power. How a lifelong scammer made his way into the highest position in America. She explicitly states how “Trump’s rise to power is inseparable from the existence of social networks that must continually aggravate their users in order to continue making money.”
Another essay discusses the obsession of identity online. There can be so many differences between the person you put out online and who you really are. People are obsessed with their image on social media. There is a phenomenon of making yourself desirable online and “of calibrating your personal appeal”. People love to treating their digital self as the best reflection of who they hope, and sometimes think, they are. It is such an issue in todays world of how many people are obsessed with their social media image. It even contributes to a lot of mental health problems in our generation. It is so easy to compare yourself to others, thinking you are not good enough or pretty enough. Everyone is different, and you can never really know who the person you are comparing yourself to is behind closed doors either. That is the “Trick Mirror” that Tolentino is really trying to get across. Throughout the whole book, Tolentino dicusses the ways in which society has failed women, and all the self-delusions necessary to make these failures look like success.
My favorite essay was “Always be Optimizing”. It really did a good job at opening up my eyes to companies marketing to women. How women are needed to feel that self-care includes taking expensive workout classes in 90 dollar leggings and how their diets should only consist of vegetables and salads. These marketing strategies come off as trying to empower women. They are very good at convincing us of this for the most part, but, we need to understand that this is just society making us think we need to fit these norms. Self-care is different for each one of us. We each have our own ways of improving mental health, relaxing, and exercising. We do not need to spend all of our money on expensive workout classes and clothing to feel good about ourselves.
- Easy read, did not feel like a chore.
- Book can really help contribute to self improvement.
- Dives deep into the world of social media, opens up your eyes to things you might have not noticed before.
- 9 separate essays make it easy to pick up for a light read. (Almost like 9 different books in 1)
- Author dove deeper into topics than most usually do. Did not stop at what felt comfortable, but pushed boundaries.
- Made me be more skeptical about the world of social media.
I really loved Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror. I am not someone who really enjoys to read books on the daily. With the nine essays, it made it really easy to pick up the book when I felt like it and finish an essay. It was also really nice because after reading a particular essay I would think deeper about the certain topic Tolentino talked about throughout the day. I also really liked the discussion of identity online today. I feel like it is a very important topic to discuss with our generation. The obsession with how we perceive ourselves online can be very detrimental for many. Taking a step back and realizing how everything online can be seen through a “Trick Mirror” will make me think very differently the next time I open up Instagram or any social media site. Overall, very good read and I would recommend it to all of my classmates.