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That's What She Read

The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder - Erin Blakemore For such a small book, The Heroine's Bookshelf packs quite a punch. It is one of those books that makes a reader proud to be female, while also making one appreciate the lessons learned from childhood heroines. It is the perfect novel to read when feeling blue or at a crossroads in one's life because it simultaneously reminds one of all those who have experienced similar thoughts/sensations/emotions while confirming the idea that we are not alone in our struggles. In a book filled with lessons, it is the most powerful lesson of all.Ms. Blakemore does a fantastic job of presenting each beloved character in a fresh new light while simultaneously confirming why they are beloved in the first place. At the same time, she shares the struggles each author had to overcome in order to present these extraordinary characters with the world. Fighting to be heard among men, fighting depression, letting one's voice be heard - they are all issues that these authors dealt with while writing, which lends a note of familiarity to the entire proceedings because they continue to be problems today.The Heroine's Bookshelf posits the idea that heroines in novels can be important roles models in spite of being fictional. From Scarlett, one learns never to give up the fight. Who can forget the importance of happiness and looking on the bright side of things learned from Anne? What about staying true to one's own beliefs, as shown to us by Jane? Often, the authors' stories can be just as, if not more, inspirational than the heroines themselves. If they can overcome their own conflicts to write these extraordinary characters, we all can do the same in our own lives.The Heroine's Bookshelf makes me want to revisit and rejoice in each heroine all over again. Read at a time when I am struggling with my own demons in my personal life, Ms. Blakemore reminded me that I need to stay true to my own values, to fight for them, to never forget my sense of wonder, and to have faith. It is a reminder that I feel everyone needs to receive, and one that I will truly cherish.