Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Review

Is it naive and ridiculous to think: "This will be the year I review more books!"? Yes, yes it is. But maybe I'll review a few more than last year and that will be sufficient. I have several goals this year that have nothing to do with reading or writing (or weight loss or the other usual suspects), but maybe I'll write a little more often while I'm at it. Either way, here's the first review of the year.
(Disclaimer about this book: While I thoroughly enjoyed it, that does not mean everyone would. This is not one I'd recommend to just anyone, but for a select group of people that I think would actually find it fascinating. Also, it doesn't release until February 3. Sorry)

4 Stars

I’m not sure what I thought this book would be. But it wasn't anything I expected. And I can’t say I've read anything like it before. (Not that there isn't something like it, but I just hadn't picked it up.)

The best way to describe this book is that it is a biographical literary criticism. This is the story of Samantha Ellis re-reading her way through her old favorites, but with a more feminist eye after she engages in a debate with her best friend over who is the best heroine. While she’s re-reading these books, she is also trying to find herself: her career, love, and who she is.

What I loved:
*It was fascinating to read the feminist side of so many well known books and to see how reading books at different times in your life will change how you see them.
*It was fun to read a literary critic without feeling like you were caught up in the terminology, but instead you get to see how it actually applies to someone’s life.
*Ellis never got bogged down by the issues she faced. She used books to get her through some very tough times and showed what an important role books can play.
*The end. It was a realistic ending, but at the same time a lovely one.
*I’ve got a long list of books I need to read now. Books with strong women that I would like to learn more from. Unfortunately, that also means that I just have more books to read in a never ending list of books to read.

What I would have liked more:
*I know it wasn’t the point of the book, but I would have liked to have had more of Ellis’s story. It felt that while we glimpsed her, the book focused more on the other heroines, instead of Ellis. Maybe there will be a follow up. (That is a very personal thing to ask of someone, though.)

Overall, I would say that it may be a rather smaller audience that would really love this book, but for anyone who is interested in literary theory (without so much technical aspect), this was a fascinating and fun read.

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