Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Heroine's Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore - ADVISABLE

Blakemore, Erin The Heroine's Bookshelf, 197 pages, Harper Collins, 2010, $19.99. Language-G, Mature Content-PG, Violence-G
This non-fiction gem reads like a novel as it compares and contrasts classic female authors with their literary protagonists. In its first chapter, "Self", Blakemore contrasts Jane Austen's personal decision not to marry with the happy ending she created for Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and compares both women's decisions to stay true to themselves, against society's disapproval, by deciding not to be pressured into loveless marriages for the sake of security. Blakemore then creates a strong argument for how both women, creator and character, can teach their readers valuable life lessons and be relevant in a 21st century, digital world, where there are still opportunities to challenge expectations. The following chapters tackle ideals like faith, indulgence, fight and simplicity and spotlight literary heroines like Alice Walker's Celie and Harper Lee's Scout Fitch.  Each chapter of Bookshelf is full of personal connections to the back stories of these fascinating female authors and their fictional femme fatales. Captivating and intriguing, Bookshelf  would be the perfect companion for curriculum in women's studies or classic literature and as a book club book or gift for a graduate. Already familiar with many of the Bookshelf's literary heroines, I found myself absorbed in the details and inspired by the premise of this very unique volume. I highly recommend it for teachers, librarians and college-bound young women. HS-ADVISABLE; Reviewer: Gretchen

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