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Inclou el nom: Jia Tolentino

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The Best American Essays 2019 (2019) — Col·laborador — 130 exemplars


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It's good! I found the first half slightly unsettling, because it's a lot of discussion about the way that we present ourselves and manufacture our own self-image, and you can see Tolentino exploiting these exact techniques as she deconstructs them. But not "unsettling" in a "give up on the book" way, "unsettling" in the "this is weird and I can't stop reading" way.

This approach works well, though, and it's good that the earlier essays focus more heavily on this, because I felt like the latter ones focus on more important material, and being familiar with Tolentino's style by that point meant I could focus on the arguments.

I found some essays were beyond me. Pure Heroines works best if you've read a lot of literature.

Some essays use a lot of words to convey a point, and got a little slow at times, but it was nice to be able to trace Tolentino's thought process as she deals with hard topics. And I think that thing that I found unsettling at the start, about bringing "just the right amount of yourself" into the work, turned out to be a huge advantage for the harder topics of the essays "We Come From Old Virginia", "The Cult of the Difficult Woman" and "I Thee Dread", because the arguments are nuanced in response to a complex topic, and so having a good understanding of the author's context makes it easier to empathise, and therefore, to see the nuance.

So yeah, 4.5 stars. I've already recommended it to two or three friends.
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capnfabs | Hi ha 38 ressenyes més | Mar 9, 2024 |
This is a somewhat interesting collection of essays about a wide range of topics relating to the experiences of millennial women in relation to the illusionary quality of popular culture. I loved the first one, "The I in Internet", by far the most. There was nothing in it that we haven't heard before, but it was well-written and relevant.

Some of the other pieces were mediocre, while some were just awful (the worst being the one about the author's past as a reality show participant) and some felt very superficial although well-meaning ("Always Optimizing"). Even though I don't agree with the author on many topics, I could appreciate her honesty while reading this, but I am confused about why this is so highly regarded. I learned nothing new from this.

2.5 stars
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ZeljanaMaricFerli | Hi ha 38 ressenyes més | Mar 4, 2024 |
Overall, great. A few highlights and lowlights...

For me, there were two essays that really stood above the rest:

1. The Story of a Generation in Seven Scams. Sure, I already knew about all of these scams, but it still felt shocking to see them hung together like that.

2. Ecstasy. Wow, this one was a real surprise! Connecting the Houston mega-church of her childhood to taking molly. Very intriguing for someone who hasn't ever really done drugs or gone to church.

I thought the essay on heroines was the weakest, even though it's the subject matter I like best, because it felt like she was cherrypicking books that fit her thesis.

Another low point for me was "Always Be Optimizing" even though it has merit. I'm just at a point where I can't stand reading about feminism as it relates to wealthy women who take expensive exercise classes and feel the need to look perfect to succeed in corporate America.
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LibrarianDest | Hi ha 38 ressenyes més | Jan 3, 2024 |
Magritte's painting of a pipe entitled "The Treachery of Images" comes to mind after listening to Jia Tolentino read her collection of essays. Sometimes called "This is not a pipe", the painting boasts these very words (in French), but the painter gave it another title. The painting represents a thing at the same time that it claims it is not that thing.

In like manner, Tolentino enumerates the dangers of the internet, or the madness of optimizing—while vigorously participating in both. But then, her subtitle does nod to this awareness: Reflections on Self-Delusion.

Brilliant writing—the kind I envy—vibrant, personal yet well researched, observant and deep.
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rebwaring | Hi ha 38 ressenyes més | Aug 14, 2023 |



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