Fun and clever reads are all too rare and hard to come by, is what I've always said.
Regrettably, Ellis may now have upped this so that in the future I will want entertaining reads to be not only fun and clever, but fun and clever and feministic. Something tells me that finding those is going to be even harder.
All the more reason to enjoy this opus to the fullest, I guess.
Ellis parallels her own life story with insightful analyses of her favourite heroines in popular literature.
Happily, she has read and loved much the same books as the rest of us, so this all has a highly familiar ring to it (In point of fact, it's such a pleasure to reunite with many of these, I now feel like re-reading a great number of books... I even think I might buy the Anne of Green-Gables-series, to see what I missed out on. Never got around to her, for some reason.)
Personal favourites : Lucy Honeychurch ('A Room With A View'), Elizabeth Bennet ('Pride and Prejudice') and Jane Eyre (well... 'Jane Eyre').
Oh, and the crucial question (which is NOT whether Ellis learned anything from all this reading. Of course she did, but that's not the point.) is whether there has been any real progress in the portrayals of young heroines in the last 200 years.
Quite luckily, the answer is YES, although the road here has been long and winding indeed; for although Jane Eyre (1813) may be no Lisbeth Salander nor Katniss Everdeen, she is infinitely more fierce and independent than Sara Crewe ('A Little Princess' 1905) or the ladies in 'Valley of the Dolls' (1966).
Remarkable that one of the first should have so much in common with heroines of today.