Lucy Cappello ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Fans of Lily Collins probably know her as an actress or as musician Phil Collins’ daughter. More recently, however, she has taken on the role of writer. Collins’ first book, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, which came out on March 7th, is a collection of essays which not only detail personal moments in the author’s life, but work to offer advice for all who read it, especially young women.
In the book, Collins describes feeling alone, confused, and overwhelmed as a teenager, all factors that contributed to or worsened challenges she’s worked to overcome in her adult life, like her eating disorder and tendency towards unhealthy romantic relationships. If she’d known that other people—namely celebrities she looked up to and women role models in her life—also dealt with things like insecurity, she says, it would have been easier for her to ask for help in times of need.
It makes sense, then, that Collins, who at 28 has been able to work through many of her teenage struggles, would use her platform as an actress as well as her natural writing talent to expose many falsities (like the illusion of Hollywood perfection) that harm young people and to remind us that we are not alone.
Of course, that’s not as easy as it sounds, especially considering the long history our culture has of perpetuating impossible beauty standards and rigid notions of traditional femininity. Collins’ book is not without its problems; while the writing is strong overall, there are moments which read as preachy or trite. Additionally, while the author tries hard to convince us that she’s relatable, it’s difficult to overlook her immense privilege—as the daughter of a successful musician, and as a conventionally attractive white woman, Collins’ life is simply not the norm. While she often makes valid points, it can be hard to get completely on board with Collins’ advice, because she doesn’t seem to consider experiences that differ drastically from her own.
All in all, Unfiltered is a good book if you’re looking for a quick, somewhat meaningful read. It’s entertaining to an extent, and it does bring up important questions about the way we exist in society, toward others, and toward ourselves. It isn’t, however, any sort of self-help book or a guide that will change your life. Nor should it be. Lily Collins is an actress who can only speak to her own experiences, and in the end, her doing so is commendable.