Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis
Add How to Be a Heroine to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

How to Be a Heroine

Best Seller
How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis
Paperback $14.95
Feb 03, 2015 | ISBN 9781101872093

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (1) +
  • Feb 03, 2015 | ISBN 9781101872093

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Feb 03, 2015 | ISBN 9781101872109

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Product Details


“An honest and open-hearted book by someone whose life has been informed and enriched by her reading.” —Susan Hill, The Times (London)

“Not so much self-help as shelf-help, as Ellis applies fresh insights to her own life dilemmas and proffers some inspiring solutions to everyday problems. A truly brilliant read.” —Marie Claire

“A literary journey to self-discovery. . . . As Ellis shows in this charming, gracefully written memoir, literary heroines revealed to her new life stories, new selves and her own power to invent her life.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The best kind of book: one that I gobbled up . . . but unable to stop reading until it was all gone. One that made me want to run to the bookshop to buy copies of novels I’ve never got round to reading and devour those, too.” —Rebecca Armstrong, The Independent on Sunday
“A delightful and hilarious memoir.” —The Economist

“A winning memoir. . . . This is a book for book lovers, who will likely come away with a fresh take on old favorites from Ellis’ endearing but exacting examinations. Although Ellis’ own story of growing up in an Iraqi-Jewish community in London and becoming a playwright is specific, her enduring love for her literary role models is universal. The book could equally be titled How to Be a Reader; Ellis is passionate and engaged, railing against writers who shortchange their creations and celebrating those whose characters represent their best selves. . . . This is a rousing call for women to be the heroines in their own lives, and it’s good fun, to boot.” —Booklist (starred review)

“[A] warm-spirited biblio-autobiography. . . . [Ellis] is endearingly open about her vulnerabilities, superstitions, love tangles and defeats and is adept at droll asides.” —The Guardian
“My new best friend in book form . . . like stumbling into the kitchen at a party and discovering everyone you liked in one room.” —Sam Baker, Harper’s Bazaar
“All the books I love, remembered.” —Nigella Lawson
“Any woman with a remotely bookish childhood will find great pleasure in How to Be a Heroine. . . . Like Ellis, I find it reassuring that Lizzy Bennet can admit that she was wrong about Darcy, have used Scarlett’s indomitable mantra in times of adversity, and have every sympathy with the women who keep their bank accounts separate as in Lace.” —Daisy Goodwin, The Sunday Times (London)
“Ellis is delightfully honest and warmly funny about where and how her life has gone wrong and right. By the end of this charming book, she has used female fictional characters to explore religion, love, marriage, sex, spinsterhood and work.” —Daily Mail
How to Be a Heroine happily reminds all bookworms of years of their life spent in the company of Scarlett, Katy, Jane Eyre, the March family and all those wonderful friends that only really exist in our hearts.” — Shirley Conran, author of Lace
“Pithy, funny and poignant.” —Jewish Chronicle
A real treat.” —Good Housekeeping
“[How to Be a Heroine] fizzes along, thanks to Ellis’s warm humour and interesting back story. . . . Plus how could we resist a book that reminisces about Judy Blume novels?” —Glamour

“This is quite simply a genius idea for a book. . . . A fantastically inspirational memoir that makes you want to reread far too many books.” —The Observer
“[A] jaunty, witty book.” —The Daily Telegraph
“Ellis proves funny and thoughtful, alive both to the indulgence of reading (preferably in the bath, with a glass of wine) and to her own capacity for false enchantment. Her synopses are always lively and perceptive but she’s at her best when she gets stuck in to interrogating her characters. . . . [She] not only makes you want to go and re-read your own teenage canon but to recapture that mode of absorbing novels.” —Evening Standard
“An honest, warm and readable book about the plots we follow in order to make sense of our lives, the selves we adopt as we grow up and the selves we shed . . . as we grow out of them. At its heart is an exploration of the way women read: diving in with abandon, losing ourselves in words, collapsing into characters, only ever half returning to real life. There are bits of us left behind in every book we have ever loved. . . . Wise, courageous and endlessly generous, Ellis is something of a heroine herself.” —Literary Review
“[A] warm, witty memoir. . . . [A] life-affirming feminist text, but one delivered with such dexterity and sly humour that it never feels like a polemic or a prescription, making it well worth your time.” —The Scotsman
How to Be a Heroine is the book I feel like I’ve been waiting for since I was 16.” —Viv Groskop, Red magazine

Table Of Contents


1 The Little Mermaid
2 Anne of Green Gables
3 Lizzy Bennet
4 Scarlett O’Hara
5 Franny Glass
6 Esther Greenwood
7 Lucy Honeychurch
8 The Dolls (from the Valley)
9 Cathy Earnshaw
10 Flora Poste
11 Scheherazade


Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Samantha Ellis
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top