In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins—star of Mortal Instruments and the upcoming Rules Don’t Apply—is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating, and so much more.
For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, underlining that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She’s learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realize they’re not alone.
By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered. (From: Goodreads)
***Actual Rating: 3/5 Fearless Stars***
”I will never need anyone to complete me. I am enough on my own.”
As we all know, Unfiltered is a memoir about the well-known actress, Lily Collins. She starred in the movie City of Bones as Clary Fray and Rosie in the film Love, Rosie. Basically, Lily Collins talked about her struggle with eating disorder; she initially suffered from anorexia and later bulimia. She also shared her childhood memories as well as personal experiences of heartbreaks and failed relationships. We could see how much she’s changed throughout her life and perhaps, learn some lessons from her experiences.
Honestly, there weren’t many chapters I truly, completely appreciated because I always agreed with her at some points but strongly disagreed with her other opinions. For example, in her essay My mom: The Myth, the Legend, I couldn’t agree with her more about how much our moms have taught us and they’re definitely the greatest women in the world. Undoubtedly, we should always try to show our gratitude whenever they’re around.
However, Lily started this chapter by saying that her mom thought traveling around the world is better than learning from textbooks; therefore, her mom took her to lots of countries and let her experience the exotic cultures. *STOP RIGHT HERE* Okay, I tried not to be rude, but she was saying that traveling was a big part of her childhood as if it didn’t cost her anything. As if TRAVELING WAS FREE.
Undeniably, traveling is indeed the best way to explore a different culture and immerse yourself in a brand-new atmosphere. Since I’m a pragmatic person, not everyone could afford traveling like she could. I mean, if you don’t have financial problems, then of course you can do exactly as she did and lead a colorful life by going abroad. But reality ain’t fairytale, this kind of lifestyle isn’t suitable for everyone.
In my opinion, traveling around the world from a young age is not necessarily the ONLY way to explore the world. Anyway, let’s be more practical, how many teenagers can really “learn” the knowledge from textbooks by actually putting themselves in the real places?
The one and only chapter I LOVED was chapter 16 Everything happens for a reason. Lily kind of wrapped the book up in this chapter since she recalled most of the main stories mentioning before and gave us her suggestions. In short, there were three quotes I absolutely adored and I think they summed the book up perfectly.
”Ending a relationship feels like the end of the world. Sometimes it feels like I’d never be happy again. But as time passes and your heart mends, you pick yourself up and carry on.”
When you finished reading this book, you’d realize that she had experienced heartbreaks several times. She always tried to say something encouraging to comfort and reassure herself that she wasn’t responsible for the failure of relationships. This quote was by far the most genuine, heartfelt one I’ve ever read from this book. I actually felt the strength when citing it and I really appreciated a powerful ending like this.
”I truly believe we all have the power to take situations into our own hands, but I also know that believing in the power of fate allows me to be more at peace when something ends, because I can see it as a new beginning.”
We may see signs like “The end is not the end; it’s just a new beginning,” everywhere that it seems like a total cliché to us. Before I read this chapter, I used to feel NOTHING whenever someone told me that simply because it’s too commonly heard to actually figure the meaning out. Miraculously, I was totally convinced by Lily’s story because even though her love life was sort of…complicated and full of heartbreaks, an end to a relationship (or basically, just anything in life) guaranteed her to have a
slightly better one in the future. The reason I trusted her words so much is because in retrospect, I did realize whenever unexpected things happened, it usually had something to do with my previous experiences. Sometimes the realization doesn’t come immediately after the current ending/failure, but there’ll be a time when understanding strikes you. Not until that moment will you eventually find a way to regain your confidence and see a way out, leading you towards a brighter place.
”I still face opposition constantly, but it only makes me fight harder. It gives me perspective and reminds me that I can’t control anything except for the way I handle myself in each situation and how I move forward and accept the cards I’ve been dealt.”
To this point of the book (aka chapter 16 out of 17), I still felt like she was trying to get a grip on everything in her life. From the pursuit of acting, modeling, talk show hosting, to personal stuff, Lily had always (and from my point of view, she still does) tried to keep everything under her control. However ridiculous it might sound, I sort of found this quote meaningful and worthy of memorizing. There’s no denying that we should all learn how to handle ourselves, solve our own problems, and at the same time, accept the cards we’ve been dealt. To sum up, this quote was a wonderful wrap-up for the chapter and the book.
As much as I enjoyed reading Lily’s ups and downs in her life, particularly the way she turned her frustration into strength, I did hope she could tell some of her stories differently. I’ll take three parts for example:
Not gonna lie, but I was super intrigued when she first talked about her relationships. I mean, c’mon, she’s a beautiful, young lady, who appears in many movies, and hangs out with several hotties in social events. Who wouldn’t be curious about what kind of guy she appreciates? Anyway, I did admire her courage to share this aspect of her in this book; however, I wasn’t fond of the way she explained her previous relationships.
”But the older I got and the more I spoke up for myself, the more the guys literally started disappearing!”
She said this at about the third or fourth time mentioning her failed relationships and every time she analyzed why their romance didn’t work out, she tended to say she was trying to voice her opinions and that was when the guy left her. Later on, she’d tell her readers how important it is to speak up for yourselves and never back down just because someone speak ill behind you. And then, she’d say how these relationships ended wasn’t her fault because she was being herself and finally got the chance to stand out.
You may think the whole situation sounds about right, but I don’t think you’ll feel that way when her stories become repetitive later in the book.
”We need to be with the wrong person to recognize who the right one is, how he should treat us, and what kind of respect we deserve.”
I even found the certain pattern of her relationships since it all started the same way—the troublesome guy attracted her and he usually was an alcoholic or an addict of something unhealthy—and then they had a great life in the beginning phase, and he began drinking while she became suspicious of his sweet nothings, and she tried to fix him and he DISAPPEARED after listening to her confession.
Annnnnd their story hadn’t finished yet, because after a few months or years, she’d accidentally meet him and they decided to give their romance a chance and everything started all over again. It was also the same scenario with her latter boyfriends. Therefore, I honestly think if she said the guys always ran away whenever she spoke the truth, then maybe she was responsible for her relationships with them!
The fact that she kept insisting on “voicing her inner thoughts” and told us she didn’t understand why they ended like that made me think she was comforting herself by finding excuses. Sorry, Lily, but after reading so many similar situations in your love life, that’s what I felt. Perhaps she could practice introspection sometimes and she’d eventually figure out what went wrong. Luckily, at least I found something quite positive in her lessons from past relationships.
In those moments it’s so important to remember that recognizing someone’s flaws is a gift. It allows us to take a step back and reevaluate how we approach them and how to move forward.”
★Battle for Perfection:
In this chapter, I, unfortunately, did NOT appreciate Lily’s attempt to be anyone else but her. She said she wanted to be like the talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, high fashion supermodel Tyra Banks, and famous television host Barbara Walters. After publishing her debut, she was invited to The Ellen Show for the first time and she also mentioned it there. Seriously, I didn’t understand why she couldn’t just be herself when she strongly encouraged others to do so. Don’t get me wrong, all three of her role models are probably of the most wonderful, inspiring people in the world, but when Lily wanted to be a combination of them, I was so confused. Maybe it was her way of complimenting people, or maybe I was overanalyzing her words; whatever she meant by that was totally beyond my comprehension.
Apparently, eating disorder is Lily’s “deepest fear” because it’s something she has suffered from for a long time. Thus, it’s probably the most understandable part of her story. She gave us vivid depiction of symptoms of both anorexia and bulimia; hence, it wasn’t hard to imagine what she had to endure and what the patients needed to conquer.
Frankly, I was overwhelmed by all the emotional words and feelings; I had a sense of helplessness at that moment and wish I could do something to ease her pain. Just as she noted, “Food should be your fuel. Not a punishment.”(not sure if it was put this way but something like this) I was truly happy that she finally realized how important it is to eat healthily and found the connection between her body and mind.
Though I’d enjoy this part more if she could tell us about her “battle” with eating disorder and focus on the “how” she faced her problems instead of “what” she had to bear. Compared to the extremely detailed explanations of her disorder, there was something missing in her experience of recovery. I totally got it that it wasn’t an overnight remedy but I’d really, really appreciate if she could share her story of fighting against the disorder.
Unfiltered is a collection of Lily’s essays so the chapters are quite short and pretty easy to read. I also found it very relatable and I believed it’d be the same with you. Her stories consisted of her experiences in (partially sad) beautiful childhood memories, imperfect relationships along with fighting against eating disorder. Although her original target audience was teenage girls and young women, I personally think it’s suitable for EVERYONE. You may find yourself in the similar situation some time throughout your life, and it’ll be a good chance to see how she learned to keep moving forward and never give up.
Obviously, I was in a love and hate relationship with this book because to some extent, Lily was living like a fairytale princess in a fairytale-like world. For instance, she always thought she could change her alcoholic boyfriend, fix him, and made him a better person. But that wasn’t how the reality worked! Moreover, even in the last few chapters, she still wanted to control everything in her life and hoped it’d turn out exactly the way she planned. Somehow I wish she could act like a mature adult and be more practical. Other than this, this memoir indeed gave me a better look into her life behind the scene, the more down to earth side of her.
Lastly, though I had mixed feeling about this book, I still recommend it to everyone. Just because I had to disagree with some of her opinions doesn’t mean you’ll think similarly. So I hope you’ll love it more than I did and better yet, find it helpful in the meanwhile.