Book Review: How To Be A Heroine by Samantha Ellis

I saw this book on one of the channels I watch on YouTube (or BookTube as those of the book world call it) and decided to put it on my list to read. It is written in an essay style and the chapters are broken up by heroines from different books, for example Anne of Green Gables and Elizabeth Bennet.

Within the chapters, Ellis analyzes the heroine, how she is portrayed, the impression she gave and how Ellis's thoughts of the heroine may have changed when she reread the novel as an adult. Ellis also looked at other heroines within those chapters, often comparing and contrasting the women.

This was an interesting read, I have never really read anything like this before and so I was definitely intrigued by it. I enjoyed reading it, in the sense that it brought up some thought-provoking points. However I also thought the book was just okay. This was not because of the author or the way the book was written but more because I personally hadn't read many of the books whose heroine she analyzes, and so while it was interesting to read her thoughts, I couldn't really agree or disagree with them. For the books and heroines I did read, I did not always agree with her points or opinions. I personally see Jo March and Anne Shirley as strong, inspirational characters and while Ellis does not state otherwise, she points out flaws which I don't see as flaws.

However I did think one quote summed up the book nicely: (pg. 141)

"I'm beginning to think all readings are provisional, and that maybe we read heroines for what we need from them at the time."

Have you read a book like this? What are your thoughts on this book?

Happy Reading!

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