Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino is a collection of essays published in 2019. The essays are a mix of autobiographical musings and cultural criticism. Tolentino is primarily a journalist, though she’s also written fiction.
I went into Tolentino’s book not knowing what to expect. I think we live in a time over-saturated with memoirs and collections of essays. I’ve been burned before, but Trick Mirror is honestly great! Tolentino finds a way to achieve some great humor while maintaining a sense of journalism. Her cultural criticism is smart and well-referenced. The moments of autobiography delighted me (do yourself a favor and Google Girls V Boys if, like me, you didn’t have premium cable). Her ability to blend both makes the book an easy read.
I found myself laughing out loud at a few moments while also aware that this could easily be assigned text from a college course. That combination is pretty rare. (Feminist theory citations and queefs don’t always go hand-in-hand…) She shows an understanding that while the topics may be serious, an element of humor can only to the reader’s comprehension.
Her voice comes through as self-aware and her writing is confident (I suspect it comes from her preparation). Perhaps it’s because I fall into a similar age group, but it feels as if she will be regarded as a voice of the millennial generation. Though I know she has continued her more journalistic pursuits (the Britney Spears conservatorship is legendary), I hope she’ll come back to this format, soon.