Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Lost in a good book

Book Review: How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis

This book nearly passed me by, but thanks to a tweet pointing me towards an excerpt I spent a very happy few days enjoying this book.

This book made me so happy - there is someone else out there who wants to be the characters they've read about. And there is someone who has thought about it even more than me - enough to write a book about it!

Samantha Ellis takes a look back at the female characters in literature that she's most wanted to be, and who's ideals she's tried to follow and then tries to decide if they are good role models or not. If they don't come up to scratch she then tries to find better ones.

I can't say that I'd ever thought as deeply about the subject as Ellis - generally I wanted to be a character for just as long as I was reading a book, although there are certainly some that have left me with a 'book hangover' and that I've found it hard to let go - many of Tamora Pierce's characters fit in this category.  However her thoughts have made me want to re-read a lot of books and look at them with the new ideas put forward in the book.

I hadn't read all of the books that Ellis talks about, and I didn't read those we had in common at the same age which may account for some of her ideas string me as new/unusual but my favourite bit of the book was that all books were championed from children's books to classics to bonk-busters.  It was the reading that was important not the book.

I find it hard to write reviews on non fiction that I've loved as much as this - it doesn't matter if you like books about books or are looking for a feminist rereading of classic books as this one slender volume covers it all.

I've already returned my copy to the library after strongly recommending it to two more people but I think I am going to have to buy this for myself and as a present for several people.

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