Books · Julia P · Memoir · Non-Fiction

How to Be a Heroine | by Samantha Ellis

How to be a Heroine

How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much
by Samantha Ellis
(Vintage, 2015, 264 pages)

In How to Be a Heroine Samantha Ellis takes a journey through the books, and more specifically the heroines, that spoke to her growing up. I’m going to take a page from Theresa’s book and share the Amazon summary of this title below. I enjoyed the book, especially when reading about Ellis’s experience with books that I love (Anne of Green Gables, Gone with the Wind…). How to Be a Heroine is part memoir part literary criticism and it made me want to revisit books from my past to see how I respond to them as an adult.

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.


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