Book Review: How to Be a Heroine By Samantha Ellis

A review of How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis
I read an excerpt from this book about the wonderful qualities of Lizzy Bennet, and I knew that I had to read this book. I am incredibly glad that I did.

The Good: As an avid reader, this memoir of sorts was probably one of the best I’ve read. I often have a difficult time with memoirs unless the writer is incredibly hilarious or their life is incredibly interesting. Sometimes, the writer just comes off as way too self-indulgent. This was not the case for Samantha Ellis. She starts with her childhood, framing many of her experiences with the books that she was reading at the time. While she goes on to describe a life that was and is very different from mine, I related to her easily when it came to how she read certain books and how each heroine of these novels impacted and inspired her. She writes about Anne Shirley, Scarlett O’Hara, and Lizzie Bennet, among other characters – talks about their great and not so great qualities. It was great to revisit these characters, almost like going down memory lane. It was also really great to see how these stories and their leading ladies impacted and influenced Ellis’s own life.

The Bad: There were a few novels mentioned that I have never read. These portions, while not bad or poorly written, were definitely less interesting for me when compared to the other parts covering books I loved. These sections were also a bit spoiler-y. While I am sure Ellis didn’t intend this and I wasn’t mad about it, I was definitely less engaged. I imagine that someone who hasn’t read any of these books might want to wait before reading this one. That said, I think Ellis intended this book for people who’ve already read and loved these novels as much as she has.

The Verdict: If you’ve read a good portion of the novels discussed (Gone with the Wind, Pride & Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, Ballet Shoes, Wuthering Heights, and many more), you’d probably love this book. If you haven’t, give those books a try first and come back to this one later. It will be worth your while!


Written by Rachel B.

Rachel is a co-creator and writer at Definitely Not for the Birds (DNFB). She works as a Content Creation Specialist. Presently, she writes, reads, and then reads and writes some more, with a giant and ever-present mug of coffee in her hand. Follow Rachel @rrbindl and DNFB @not4birds

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