How To Be A Heroine Book Review

I have a confession to make. I am a lifelong bookworm who extracts great pleasure from opening a favorite book and delving into the comfortable world of a story that I know all too well.

Samantha Ellis is a fellow bookworm. Her newest book is entitled How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading too Much.

Ms. Ellis is the daughter of an Iraqi-Jewish family who for the last couple of generations has lived in England. While writing about her life and the experiences of the older members of her family, she intertwines essays about some of the most well known and loved female literary characters. From Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, to the Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Cathy Earnshaw, to Scarlett O’Hara and many others, Ellis tells her own life story while reminding us why we keep going back to these characters and their stories.

I loved this book. What hooked me immediately and kept me hooked was the integration of Ms. Ellis’s life story and the classic literary female characters. Our favorite literary character often feel like a friend or a family member, we know them as much as we know ourselves.

I highly recommend this book, it is so far, the best new book of 2015 for me.


Wise Words From Wise Women: A Review of The Heroine’s Bookshelf

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good book and the characters that inhabit that book will stay with the reader throughout his or her life. It is also a truth universally acknowledged that the lessons that the characters learn through their own choices and the consequences of those choices will resonate with the reader for years to come.

 Our favorite books inspire us. They are our solace in times of need. They keep us entertained when we have nothing else to do. We imagine that the characters within the books are our friends, our family. We know them as we know ourselves. They make us laugh, they make us smile, and they make us cry. And when were done with the book and the story is complete, we feel that no matter what has happened in our day, everything will be all right.

 Erin Blakemore analyzes some of most well known female authors and their iconic characters. The diverse range of authors and characters include Jane Austen (Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice), Louisa May Alcott (Jo March, Little Women), Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables), Betty Smith (Francie Nolan, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn) and Alice Walker (Celie, The Color Purple).

 Her thorough analysis looks at the author’s life and how the events in her life shaped her writing, her characters and the arc of the character’s story line during the book. At end of each chapter, Ms. Blakemore advises the reader of when the best time to read the book is and similar books that the reader might enjoy.

As a lifelong book worm and a fan of several of the authors whose lives and works are briefly chronicled within this book, I can say that I was satisfied by the end of the book.  Any reader of any of the novels would find the author’s analysis interesting without feeling like they have read a college textbook. I was reminded that when life turns unexpectedly or we must make a decision that may impact the rest of our life, the best advise can come from a beloved literary character.

The book is very quick read, but an enjoyable one. Reading a favorite book is like coming home to a very familiar and comforting place. Ms. Blakemore reminds me why I enjoyed and still enjoy my favorite books, even after many years and many, many reads. From this bookworm to the rest of the bookworms in the world, I highly recommend this book. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

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