Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: How to Be A Heroine by Samantha Ellis

From Goodreads:
While debating literature’s greatest heroines with her best friend, thirtysomething playwright Samantha Ellis has a revelation—her whole life, she's been trying to be Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre.

With this discovery, she embarks on a retrospective look at the literary ladies—the characters and the writers—whom she has loved since childhood. From early obsessions with the March sisters to her later idolization of Sylvia Plath, Ellis evaluates how her heroines stack up today. And, just as she excavates the stories of her favorite characters, Ellis also shares a frank, often humorous account of her own life growing up in a tight-knit Iraqi Jewish community in London. Here a life-long reader explores how heroines shape all our lives.
The writing here is the perfect combination, for me anyway, of memoir and literature.  We've got details about the author's life and how she has changed and the things that are important to her and we have the ways that the books she read throughout her life impacted her.  And on top of that, she's going back through with a critical eye to the benefits and potential issues created by those books.  They're largely classics, but she's got some light and fun romances in there too.  I added a ton of books to my TBR, which is just what I like from books about books.  I think she did a great job of combining literary criticism with personal preference and her own life experiences.

Entertainment Value
Again, I added almost every book mentioned to my TBR list, even those I've read before.  It made me anxious to reread some of my favorites with a more critical eye.  It's a quick read and certainly engaging - I didn't want to put it down.  If you're a huge fan of book lists, you're going to love reading this one.

The perfect choice for fans of books about books, particularly if you're a woman, as the book does tend to focus more on the feminist aspects of reading and literature.  I think those who enjoy memoir will also find something to love here, as Ellis delves into her personal experiences in romance, education, and religion throughout the book.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review!

No comments:

Post a Comment