How to be a Heroine – Samantha Ellis

How to be a Heroine - Samantha Ellis

How to be a Heroine – Samantha Ellis

This is a reading memoir – what various different novels meant to Ms Ellis.

Here is the blurb …

Cathy Earnshaw or Jane Eyre? Petrova or Posy? Scarlett or Melanie? Lace or Valley of the Dolls?

On a pilgrimage to Wuthering Heights, Samantha Ellis found herself arguing with her best friend about which heroine was best: Jane Eyre or Cathy Earnshaw. She was all for wild, passionate Cathy; but her friend found Cathy silly, a snob, while courageous Jane makes her own way. And that’s when Samantha realised that all her life she’d been trying to be Cathy when she should have been trying to be Jane.

So she decided to look again at her heroines – the girls, women, books that had shaped her ideas of the world and how to live. Some of them stood up to the scrutiny (she will always love Lizzy Bennet); some of them most decidedly did not (turns out Katy Carr from What Katy Did isn’t a carefree rebel, she’s a drip). There were revelations (the real heroine of Gone with the Wind? Clearly Melanie), joyous reunions (Anne of Green Gables), nostalgia trips (Sylvia Plath) and tearful goodbyes (Lucy Honeychurch). And then there was Jilly Cooper…

How To Be A Heroine is Samantha’s funny, touching, inspiring exploration of the role of heroines, and our favourite books, in all our lives – and how they change over time, just as we do.

I have read quite a few of the novels in this book (not all although maybe I will try to track down a Jilly Cooper!). There are chapters on various different heroines from Elizabeth Bennet to Anne Shirley and Lucy Honeychurch. It was interesting to read about what these heroines meant to the author and how her opinions changed as her age, experience and circumstances changed. I read a similar type of book My Life in Middlemarch and it worked better for me. I suspect that is a personal preference.

If you like reading and talking about books, then this book is a fun, light read that might motivate you to re-read some old favourites.

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