I don’t know how many times I’ve mourned the end of Hot Girl Summer–the carefree, no f*cks given attitude that carried me all summer (shout out to Megan Thee Stallion), wading in what little warmth there is out here in San Francisco, reveling in a life that’s constantly bludgeoned with attacks on womanhood, personhood but still hyping up your squad, lauding all women. I was big-time cruising with this energy until my hands landed on Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror and I had to put everything on pause.
One of the most-anticipated book debuts this summer, Trick Mirror by came through with bigger hot girl summer energy. Well, that and major BDE. That may be contradictory to the premise of the book, but if there’s anything that this collection of essays celebrates, it’s contradictions. And a lot of it.
Trick Mirror packs nine solid essays on pop culture, navigating life as millennials, identity and the internet, feminism, literature and more through Tolentino’s lens. The more you read her writing, the easier it is to see yourself on the page. The Filipina writer from Texas dissects so many of the major and minor struggles many of us face everyday, from how we engage with social media to understanding what moves us politically.
This book is indeed about self-delusions and the way we, as millennials deal with the idiosyncrasies of today’s world. One of my favorite pieces is “The I in the Internet” where she extracts how we’ve moved to a cultural landscape of constant monetization, fetishization and eroticization of every single thing we post online. We’ve all been basically Kardashianed.
And then there’s a part of me that likes to think I’m beyond that or above that but in truth, I’m also playing the game. Case in point, my photo above.
I mean even if it’s at the risk of checking off every box that I purport not to put myself into, social media still plays a large part in defining, discovering and creating the kinds of communities I believe in. One of those is the #bookstagram community, where I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know other readers and book nerds like myself.
And in spite of what seems like a forced connection sometimes, I’ve been a witness to other fellow book bloggers’s reactions after they read Trick Mirror–exactly like mine. A little bit of discomfort, a lot of reality checks and in a weird, but surprisingly beautiful way–affirmation.
Here are a few of my favorite book bloggers’s posts on Trick Mirror: