Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Trick Mirror

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 liter...

Details Trick Mirror

TitleTrick Mirror
Release DateAug 6th, 2019
PublisherRandom House
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Essays, Autobiography, Memoir, Feminism

Reviews Trick Mirror

  • Melanie
    I'd read Jia Tolentino's grocery lists if she let me.
  • Michael
    Lucid and enlightening, the essays of Jia Tolentino’s debut collection Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion consider what it means for Millennial women to navigate a culture of spectacle, scam, and oppression. In sharp prose across nine essays Tolentino takes on everything from the troubling rise of athleisure to America’s obsession with reality television, difficult women, and weddings; sketching brilliant fragments of cultural history...
  • Oriana
    Recently my rad friend B and I got into it about Roxanne Gay's Bad Feminist, which I loudly do not like. B argued that it was wrong of me to judge it so harshly because I was not taking into account the deep biases I bring to my own reading. I remain unrepentant because those essays are extremely bad, but I do acknowledge that I am only a combination of my life's influences: I grew up solidly middle-class, I am a cis-het woman and a Jew of Europe...
  • Blair
    I don't know if I’m going to have the time to write about this in the depth I would like, so I will just say that I finished Trick Mirror feeling I’d probably read any article Jia Tolentino writes about any topic, and I’d definitely read her memoirs. The personal stories woven through these essays bring the book to vibrant life. The autobiographical essays tend to be the strongest, particularly ‘Reality TV Me’, in which Tolentino revisi...
  • Sarah
    It took me a while to get used to Jia Tolentino's style of writing (the essays jump around a bit at times and get a little stream of consciousness-y) but there are some real gems in this collection. For me she's at her best when talking about social media, gender, women and media, but I found something to admire or enjoy in almost all of the essays in this personal collection.Thank you Netgalley and 4th Estate for the advance copy, which was prov...
  • Kelly
    I really loved this. I’ve been reading Jia Tolentino’s stuff ever since she started at Jezebel- we’re roughly the same age and she got assigned stuff I was guaranteed to click on, so I’ve read a fair amount. Some of her NYer pieces were even better, after she was freed from needing to write in Internet witty speak all the time and could show other tricks and styles she had up her sleeve. And I’d say those two voices and experiences are ...
  • Perry
    RTC. An essay collection that's Fresh, Brilliant, Cerebrally Stimulating and Boundary-Expanding (for this Gen-X male, to be sure). The New Yorker has to be proud to have Jia Tolento as its millennial cultural critic. For the first time since I do not recall when, I am fired up about spending a few hours of my weekend revisiting several favorite parts of a book and writing a 5-star review.I am grateful to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC.
  • Claire Reads Books
    Fantastic ✨ The nine essays in this razor-sharp collection circle around the notions of identity and the self that have become all-important and inescapable in the Internet era. With remarkable clarity and her formidable intellect, Tolentino highlights the distortions and self-delusions that have festered on digital platforms and begun to spread into our analog lives—and she considers the intellectual rewiring that might be necessary to free ...
  • Conor
    If the attendees of my gay book club and various members of grouptexts are any indication, the Jia hype is for real. She has become something of a tribune for the millennial generation: funny and razor sharp, introspective and curious, she writes in a way that very often feels inspired. I followed Jia as she developed through stints at the Awl, the Hairpin, Jezebel, and finally the New Yorker, where she seems to have finally encountered an audien...
  • Lou
    Trick Mirror is both a timely and relevant book featuring essays with more heart, soul, power and FIRE in their words than any other work of nonfiction I have enjoyed in 2019. Talented New Yorker Tolentino shows promise in terms of following in the incredibly successful footsteps of writers such as Zadie Smith whose own glorious collections of long-form pieces stoked my imaginatory fire at the time. The pieces are full of breadth and depth that m...
  • Alice
    I had to take breaks between these essays. They are so sharp and juicy and confronting, and needed time to absorb. This is the kind of book that makes you want to avoid reading anything else for a while, so that its ideas can keep ping-ponging around your brain undiluted. Between the waves of dread and horror at what the world (and more specifically, my own generation) has become, this book has also given me a thread of hope and clarity as to how...
  • David Wineberg
    Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror is particularly difficult to review. It failed me, but I know with total certainty that it will be praised as precious in many quarters. So I have to appreciate it for what it is, and not what it didn’t do for me. It will appeal to a large and specific audience, and that needs to be recognized in any review of it. I learned this from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, who, to my young amazement, gave an Arnold Schwarzen...
  • Barry Pierce
    Read my review on my blog:
  • Mara
    3.5 stars -- I am bumping this up a half star for the moments of charm and personal stylistic flair that shine through from time to time in this collection. In general, this is a perfectly enjoyable essay collection for those interested in topics surrounding pop culture, media, and gender, and I would recommend this to anyone with those interests. I'm not sure that this totally comes together as a collection, however, which keeps this from feelin...
  • Alanna Why
    There was a solid year where I would find a random New Yorker floating around the office at my job and read an incredible article that blew me away, only to look at the byline and see the same name, repeated over and over again: Jia Tolentino. With nine brand new essays written exclusively for this collection, Trick Mirror surpassed my expectations of what Tolentino's writing could be. Whether she is writing about being cast on a reality TV show ...
  • Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
    This was an engaging collection of essays, sharp and entertaining and I found the time flew while reading them. I appreciate a collection that can traverse topics like Soul Cycle and wedding culture, but that can also hold my interest when talking about agency in narratives, politics, and “difficult women.” Definitely one I’d recommend picking up.Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC.
  • Natasha
    I wrote a more polished Goodreads review because I had a lot to say and am frankly kind of lonely and I wanted to put my thoughts somewhere other than Into The Void, where they usually go. Reading the press about Trick Mirror, I’ve heard lots of writers describe Jia Tolentino as the Joan Didion of our time. This is an interesting comparison— not just because of their incisive, spare prose and their uncanny “voice-of-a-generation” ability ...
  • Kusaimamekirai
    There is so much to say here. Jia Tolentino's "Trick Mirror" is at times an incredibly insightful, lucid, and powerful critique of social media, the wedding industry, reality tv, women in children's fiction, self improvement culture, and so, so much more. It is hard not to be incredibly impressed by Tolentino's ability to dissect these issues with such skill and at times wit. Yet all of that being said, I was incredibly disappointed with her seem...
  • Nicola
    A bit of a mixed bag. Highlights: The first essay, The I in Internet, is excellent. Always Be Optimizing had some great ideas but a bit circular and seemed to be holding something back. The personal experience essays, Reality TV Me and Ecstacy were diverting enough, I enjoyed them. Downsides:Some of the essays cover some really well-worn ground at this point. Often, the context and asides are too heavy on research and info-dumping that isn’t fu...
  • Wendy Liu
    Loved it. I would broadly categorise this as a feminist book, but one that covers a wider range of topics than you might expect for a feminist book, and which is piercingly critical of mainstream/liberal feminism. Some things my favourite essays touched on: what it means to build a self in an era defined by reality TV; the need for perpetual self-optimisation, and how that manifests for women in particular; and the role of scams in modern-day cap...
  • Aaron S
  • Never Without a Book™
    Jia Tolentino is a bad ass! I have nothing negative to say about this collection. I LOVED IT!!! I highly recommend.
  • Mr. Masterson
    -Tolentino puts into artful and elegant words the feelings and premonitions you've had for a while, but have been unable to articulate properly. She's been thinking about the same things and observing the same things that many of us have been thinking and observing, especially since we're all so online these days. But, as a friend put it, "her writing is extremely clear, and the analytical tools she has at her disposal are helpful, and the connec...
  • Eve Dangerfield
    I've been a huge fan of Jia Tolentino's writing for ages and really enjoyed this. It was thoughtful and funny and interesting as hell, not one part of it felt flat. Also, I could listen to women talk about why they don't want to plan a wedding into infinity, so I particularly enjoyed that chapter. That and the one about Sweetgreen and Body Barre. That was also so brilliant. I'm really happy Trick Mirror exists and I had the pleasure of reading it...
  • Camryn
    This was really interesting. I didn’t find it relatable, but I connected to a lot of it, and also thought, “okay valid,” at other things. In some of the essays about women, I feel like her critiques and analysis was based on white women and how they act, which was a fine choice... I just remember reading those and thinking, “okay, the black feminist circles I hang out would not do this or accept this.” But yeah. I think the best essays ...
  • Valerie Brett
    4.5 stars. She’s fucking awesome in the literal sense of the word & I’ve always been a huge fan. I want to hand this book to all my best friends because I feel like it’s so smart but also so relatable. Minus half a star for the many quotes from & explanations of other books that IMO weren’t necessary because either 1) ppl already read them & know what she was referencing, or 2) ppl won’t have read them & so the explanations won’t real...
  • Josie
    yeah so Jia Tolentino's got a journalist's curiosity + attention to hard facts w/ a fiction writer's eye for detail/scene and i'm not sure how this sort of talent is fair in any way. what i do know is this book will probably reach people who don't usually read books b/c of its readability, relatability, and honesty. thank u @jia for not intellectualizing issues that feel so personal and dear to us all.
  • Cindy Ma
    On point articulation of what’s happening in our cultural consciousness. Fav essays: I in Internet, I Thee Dread, Ecstasy