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Book Review: Fall down the rabbit hole of self-delusion in "Trick Mirror"


I’m the last person to pick a nonfiction book from the bookstore. Still, Jia Tolentino’s essays on self-delusion, “Trick Mirror,” was too tempting. I’m obsessed with analyzing how media and psychology affect the average woman, and Tolentino aces it.


From the social media nightmare spiral to scammers, Evangelical churches to reality TV obsessions, “Trick Mirror” dives unflinchingly into Tolentino’s cultural intersections from growing up in Houston, Texas (my hometown!) and the evolving media landscape.


Many of these topics have regularly been written about in similar dexterity. Still, Tolentino’s humor and personal experiences are woven into each essay, making “Trick Mirror” a treat. Writing with the clarity of someone who has psychoanalyzed their life to the backdrop of a turbulent media landscape, Tolentino weaves graduate-level media theories (ones that I’ve been taught in class!) and her experiences with effortless finesse and hilarity. She combines the literary elements of fiction with the factual aspects of nonfiction for easy-to-follow essays that don’t info-dump on readers.


If there’s one improvement I would make to “Trick Mirror,” it would be for a more critical discussion on intersectional feminism and how race, sexuality, and class status plays into some of these topics. The best examples of where this intersectionality could be incorporated were the optimization of women and female heroine essays–mainly using race and gender to further her discussions, rather than a generalized analysis.


If you need a taste breaker from fiction or are interested in self-delusion, “Trick Mirror” is the perfect entry point. Absurd, intriguing, and deeply personal, “Trick Mirror” is a trip down the rabbit hole and into your mind.


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