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Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers

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In Why She Wrote, dive into the fascinating, unexpected, and inspiring stories behind the greatest women writers in the English language. This compelling graphic collection features 18 women—including Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Anne Lister, and more—and asks a simple question: in a time when being a woman writer often meant being undervalued, overl In Why She Wrote, dive into the fascinating, unexpected, and inspiring stories behind the greatest women writers in the English language. This compelling graphic collection features 18 women—including Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Anne Lister, and more—and asks a simple question: in a time when being a woman writer often meant being undervalued, overlooked, or pigeonholed, why did she write? Why did Jane Austen struggle to write for five years before her first novel was ever published? How did Edith Maude Eaton's writing change the narrative around Chinese immigrant workers in North America? Why did the Brontë sisters choose to write under male pennames, and Anne Lister write her personal diaries in code? Learn about women writers from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, from familiar favorites to those who have undeservedly fallen into obscurity, and their often untold histories, including: • The forgotten mother of the gothic genre • The unexpected success of Little Women • The diaries of the "first modern lesbian" • The lawsuit to protect Little Lord Fauntleroy • The personal account of a mastectomy in 1811 • Austen's struggles with writer's block • And much, much more! Why She Wrote highlights a significant moment from each writer's life and retells it through engaging and accessible comics, along with biographical text, bibliographies, and fun facts. For aspiring writers, literary enthusiasts, and the Janeite who has everything, this new collection highlights these incredible women's hardships, their influence, and the spark that called them to write. • GREAT GRAPHIC NOVEL FOR ALL AGES: Librarians and teachers recommend graphic novels for readers of all ages, especially beloved nonfiction titles like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and Raina Telgemeier's Smile, Sisters, and Guts. Immerse yourself in the stories of these fascinating women through the fun, approachable, and dynamic medium of the graphic novel! • CELEBRATION OF WOMEN WRITERS: Want to read more books by historical women writers, but aren't sure where to start? The stories and bibliographies of the women featured in Why She Wrote is an inspirational deep dive. • OVERVIEW OF WOMEN'S HISTORY: Add it to the shelf alongside other collections of women's history, including Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky, Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu, and Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women's Fight for Their Rights by Mikki Kendall and A. D'Amico.


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In Why She Wrote, dive into the fascinating, unexpected, and inspiring stories behind the greatest women writers in the English language. This compelling graphic collection features 18 women—including Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Anne Lister, and more—and asks a simple question: in a time when being a woman writer often meant being undervalued, overl In Why She Wrote, dive into the fascinating, unexpected, and inspiring stories behind the greatest women writers in the English language. This compelling graphic collection features 18 women—including Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Anne Lister, and more—and asks a simple question: in a time when being a woman writer often meant being undervalued, overlooked, or pigeonholed, why did she write? Why did Jane Austen struggle to write for five years before her first novel was ever published? How did Edith Maude Eaton's writing change the narrative around Chinese immigrant workers in North America? Why did the Brontë sisters choose to write under male pennames, and Anne Lister write her personal diaries in code? Learn about women writers from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, from familiar favorites to those who have undeservedly fallen into obscurity, and their often untold histories, including: • The forgotten mother of the gothic genre • The unexpected success of Little Women • The diaries of the "first modern lesbian" • The lawsuit to protect Little Lord Fauntleroy • The personal account of a mastectomy in 1811 • Austen's struggles with writer's block • And much, much more! Why She Wrote highlights a significant moment from each writer's life and retells it through engaging and accessible comics, along with biographical text, bibliographies, and fun facts. For aspiring writers, literary enthusiasts, and the Janeite who has everything, this new collection highlights these incredible women's hardships, their influence, and the spark that called them to write. • GREAT GRAPHIC NOVEL FOR ALL AGES: Librarians and teachers recommend graphic novels for readers of all ages, especially beloved nonfiction titles like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and Raina Telgemeier's Smile, Sisters, and Guts. Immerse yourself in the stories of these fascinating women through the fun, approachable, and dynamic medium of the graphic novel! • CELEBRATION OF WOMEN WRITERS: Want to read more books by historical women writers, but aren't sure where to start? The stories and bibliographies of the women featured in Why She Wrote is an inspirational deep dive. • OVERVIEW OF WOMEN'S HISTORY: Add it to the shelf alongside other collections of women's history, including Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky, Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu, and Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women's Fight for Their Rights by Mikki Kendall and A. D'Amico.

30 review for Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers

  1. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    4★ “For fun, we decided to start a podcast: ‘Austen vs. Brontë: Bonnets at Dawn.’ Just twelve episodes were planned, including “Northanger Abbey vs. Jane Eyre,” “Bath vs. Brussels,” and “Heathcliff vs. Darcy.” I am definitely not the target audience for this book, since I'm not an Austen or Brontë enthusiast (I know, I know, sorry), but I think it will be pounced upon with joy by fans who want to introduce young people and those from non-English speaking backgrounds to their favourite writers. I l 4★ “For fun, we decided to start a podcast: ‘Austen vs. Brontë: Bonnets at Dawn.’ Just twelve episodes were planned, including “Northanger Abbey vs. Jane Eyre,” “Bath vs. Brussels,” and “Heathcliff vs. Darcy.” I am definitely not the target audience for this book, since I'm not an Austen or Brontë enthusiast (I know, I know, sorry), but I think it will be pounced upon with joy by fans who want to introduce young people and those from non-English speaking backgrounds to their favourite writers. I like the fact that Chapman and Burke wanted to continue their own interest in women writers whose work they’d enjoyed in their youth. Would they still like them today? Would they have enjoyed them if they hadn’t already read them? The book is divided into six sections, each with a sub-heading and a couple of pages of general discussion by the authors. They have featured three women per section, beginning with a full page graphic portrait of each and their background in about 450 words or so. I’m featuring Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s story. Yes, Shelley, as in Mrs. Percy Bysshe Shelley. Here’s her ‘portrait’. “Mary Shelley is a legend. A woman so goth, she carried around her dead husband’s calcified heart until the day she died; she made a monster and a whole new literary genre.”. While Mary and Percy were on an extremely rainy holiday in Geneva, Switzerland, with Lord Byron and Byron’s current lady friend, Lady Caroline Lamb, Byron challenged them all to write, to while away the time. Mary's mother was the renowned author/activist Mary Wollstonecraft, who is also featured in this book, so she had a lot to live up to and hard acts to follow. The introductory text sets the background and the scene, but the real story is in the graphic pages that follow, and they do tell a pretty complete tale. While the others turned out poems and dreamed of a free-love utopia, she was grieving for the baby she’d just lost, wishing she could bring it back. So what did she eventually write, leaving them understandably gobsmacked? “FRANKENSTEIN”! The illustrations are stylised and in full colour, so even poor readers will be able to enjoy familiarising themselves with some history and the famous stories which they may hear mentioned in conversations one day. Even if they haven’t read the ‘literature’, they can appreciated the story. One of the 10 pages of graphics for Mary’s story This happens to be a story I’m familiar with, and I thought the authors captured the tone of the relationships well in both the text and the graphics. I grew up with the old Classics Illustrated, and I know how much a basic story can stick with you when there are pictures, particularly if you’re an impressionable youngster. There are countless readers who love these writers and others like them, so this should find an enthusiastic audience. I’m glad they challenged the status quo, even if they had to resort to using pseudonyms, so they could pave the way for all of the talented women whose works fill our bookshelves today. I am certainly a fan of their legacy! Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted and shared illustrations.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Reading_ Tamishly

    A-M-A-ZING! This is the kind of book I didn't know I was waiting for my entire reading life! I have read too many graphic novels all these years but something like this is a first! Women authors. Most familiar but some of them still not yet talked much about. Thanks to this fun, beautiful illustrated compilation of all these authors describing them and featuring some of their most important works. Non-fiction, book about books and authors will never be this fun again I tell you! I find the artwork q A-M-A-ZING! This is the kind of book I didn't know I was waiting for my entire reading life! I have read too many graphic novels all these years but something like this is a first! Women authors. Most familiar but some of them still not yet talked much about. Thanks to this fun, beautiful illustrated compilation of all these authors describing them and featuring some of their most important works. Non-fiction, book about books and authors will never be this fun again I tell you! I find the artwork quite invested and well done. It's so cool to actually know which parts of these authors' lives to be presented in such few pages like stories well portrayed through ink and colors! I personally like the later half of the book much better as I see much improvements in the representation, description and the art sequence there, and not because of the authors in the second half. Yes, it reminds me. The best part of the book is that it shows equality in the representation of all these 18 women authors regardless of their work, their popularity or their background. Kudos to the team. Thank you so much for the advanced reader ecopy. I assure you this book will be so much beautiful in its physical version! Damn 💞

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    EASY AND PRETTY A good mix of biography and graphic novel. It was an interesting and new mix and I enjoyed it. There were some issues for me, but overall I think this is a worthy book for anyone who is interested to learn more about classical women writers. 👍 What I Liked 👍 Graphics: The graphics that described a scene in each woman's life were interesting and engaging. They had just the right amount of emotions and feelings, some of them were even quite humorous. The artwork was slightly dark and EASY AND PRETTY A good mix of biography and graphic novel. It was an interesting and new mix and I enjoyed it. There were some issues for me, but overall I think this is a worthy book for anyone who is interested to learn more about classical women writers. 👍 What I Liked 👍 Graphics: The graphics that described a scene in each woman's life were interesting and engaging. They had just the right amount of emotions and feelings, some of them were even quite humorous. The artwork was slightly dark and heavy, but if you're into that, it was very pretty. Easy: This is an easy entry point to learning more about these amazing women. It doesn't drag on, it gives you the important points and may just help wet your appetite. Don't expect to get the entire story here, each biography is only one page long - but this is a good place to start. 👎 What I Disliked 👎 Autobiography: I don't like it when people perpetuate the notion that all women's fiction is autobiographical to a lesser or greater extend. We never say that about men's fiction, so why do we keep saying it about women? As if women are incapable of original thought. At times I felt like this book bought into that idea a bit too much, which bothered me. Title: The title actually threw me off, because I was expecting to learn more about what drove these amazing women to write. However, I don't think I got that answer for any of the women... Lesser known: I really wish that this book would have included more lesser known women, such as Jane Porter or Maria Edgeworth. They deserve to be remembered and written about as well. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Follow me for more book loving content! Blog ✨ Facebook ✨ Instagram ✨ Twitter Blog Post: 15 Books to Read if You Love Jane Austen

  4. 5 out of 5

    R

    This was an interesting book about 18 classic women writers during their time period and why they wrote. For example, Charlotte Bronte knew that after her dad died their home would be given back to the church so she needed her own money to survive. After several rejections of her other works, Jane Eyre was the financial success she needed. There was a short biography followed by a graphic illustration depiction of an important event in the writer’s life. Some of the other women included in this This was an interesting book about 18 classic women writers during their time period and why they wrote. For example, Charlotte Bronte knew that after her dad died their home would be given back to the church so she needed her own money to survive. After several rejections of her other works, Jane Eyre was the financial success she needed. There was a short biography followed by a graphic illustration depiction of an important event in the writer’s life. Some of the other women included in this book were: Frances Burney, Jane Austen, Ann Lister, Emily Bronte, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Beatrix Potter, and Louisa May Alcott. This was a very well researched book. The graphic illustrations added to its interest level. This would be a great introductory book for students to learn about these great women writers who inspired and empowered other women- not only in their lifetime but future generations as well. An ARC was given for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    TS Chan

    ARC received from publisher, Chronicle Books, in exchange for an honest review. As I continue my endeavour to read more classics and heading into the new year with fresh reading resolutions, Why She Wrote couldn't have come at a more opportune time. I wasn't aware of this book until my co-blogger, Celeste, read and reviewed it most favourably. Furthermore, the first book we picked up in 2021 was Anne Bronte's debut, Agnes Grey. Knowing that all the Bronte sisters were featured, I thought it woul ARC received from publisher, Chronicle Books, in exchange for an honest review. As I continue my endeavour to read more classics and heading into the new year with fresh reading resolutions, Why She Wrote couldn't have come at a more opportune time. I wasn't aware of this book until my co-blogger, Celeste, read and reviewed it most favourably. Furthermore, the first book we picked up in 2021 was Anne Bronte's debut, Agnes Grey. Knowing that all the Bronte sisters were featured, I thought it would be interesting to read this title in tandem. What a great decision that turned out to be. Why She Wrote is a charming and beautifully produced graphic novel that provided the most fascinating insights and stories behind some of history's greatest women writers. Firstly, these writers were grouped into sets of threes representing the theme that underscored the reason they wrote. Each set starts with an overarching introduction of the three writers, followed by each writer's biography told via a combination of a one-page narrative, comics, fun facts and bibliography. I've never read anything in this format before, but I'm definitely a fan because it was so delightful and highly engaging. From the most renowned classic writers like the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott to the relatively lesser known ones (to me anyway) like Edith Maude Eaton, Alice Dunbar Nelson and Anne Lister, their stories made me better appreciate the works that I've read and more eager to get to the ones that I haven't. Most notably, I think my experience of concurrently reading Agnes Grey was enhanced as I got to know the Bronte sisters more. The dynamics between Charlotte, Emily and Anne, as well as their individual differences were most intriguing; having read both Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey now, I can see how their personalities were represented in the stories they wrote. As for Louisa May Alcott, her story definitely made me look at Little Women in a different light, and also quite eager to reread it. Same goes for The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Books like this make me want to buy a few copies and gift them to friends, in the hope that it will spur them to read more from these writers, and/or be inspired by them. As a celebration of women writers, Why She Wrote also provided great historical perspective on the challenges of being a woman in the past, which made their stories even more remarkable and inspiring. Recommended! You can pre-order the book from Book Depository (Free Shipping) | Bookshop.Org (Support Independent Bookstores | Amazon US | Amazon UK You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brogan Lane

    Because I loved this book so much, I decided to write a whole review on my blog about it! I think this book deserved it. Check out my review by clicking the link: https://bookswithbroganx.wordpress.co... Because I loved this book so much, I decided to write a whole review on my blog about it! I think this book deserved it. Check out my review by clicking the link: https://bookswithbroganx.wordpress.co...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alina

    ***Note: I received a copy curtesy of Netgalley and Chronicle Books in exchange for an honest review. The concept is a 5/5★, the excution more of a 3-3.5/5★. The information presented was interesting, even if rather brief, some of the authors I ‘knew’ well, some I didn’t. Each writer has a dedicated section, with her portrait, a short bio, then a graphic part focusing on a key aspect of her life and work, followed by a list of works or fun facts. I enjoyed finding out more about these pioneers ***Note: I received a copy curtesy of Netgalley and Chronicle Books in exchange for an honest review. The concept is a 5/5★, the excution more of a 3-3.5/5★. The information presented was interesting, even if rather brief, some of the authors I ‘knew’ well, some I didn’t. Each writer has a dedicated section, with her portrait, a short bio, then a graphic part focusing on a key aspect of her life and work, followed by a list of works or fun facts. I enjoyed finding out more about these pioneers, especially knowing how difficult it was for most of them to make a living out of writing, and I think this book is a great starting point if you want to research women writers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Chronicle Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Why She Wrote is not a book I would have stumbled upon without NetGalley, and I would have been missing out. This collection of graphic biographies takes 18 women who wrote and, in sets of three, seeks to illuminate their lives and motivations just the tiniest bit. I really like the way this is presented. Each author gets a page-long bio, followed by a short comic answering I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Chronicle Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Why She Wrote is not a book I would have stumbled upon without NetGalley, and I would have been missing out. This collection of graphic biographies takes 18 women who wrote and, in sets of three, seeks to illuminate their lives and motivations just the tiniest bit. I really like the way this is presented. Each author gets a page-long bio, followed by a short comic answering the titular question of why she wrote, and finished off with a list of published works and important facts. It reminded me of Rejected Princesses, though I can see where it would have even more in common with Monster, She Wrote, which I have yet to read. By presenting each writer as part of a loosely linked trio, we see how motivations can bind together even those who never met one another. Whether the wrote to explore the human condition, provide for their families, express themselves through a persona in ways they never could in their real lives, or make their voices heard as they fought for rights and freedoms, all of these women had compelling motivations for setting pen to page that still resonate today. I don’t believe I have ever read a graphic biography, and I very much enjoyed the ways in which the illustrations brought these women to life. The art was very well done and expressive. I found it incredibly tasteful. Also, the writing itself is lovely, without distracting from the lives and works being discussed. The information included was just enough to make me very interested in all of these women. By the time I read the final pages, I read more about all eighteen, and I wanted to read more of the things they wrote themselves. Some of the subjects are women I had never heard of, others about whom I thought I knew a good deal. It was interesting to see new facets to the latter and to be introduced to the former. There were motivations I wouldn’t have naturally considered without having read this collection. Some of these women were protecting their sexual identities for various reasons, or fighting the system to protect their rights to their own work. Reading about the drive all of these women had to put pen to page motivated me to write more myself. Why She Wrote is an insightful, encouraging, and empowering look into the lives of eight incredible female writers. While I truly believe this could be read and enjoyed by both sexes and almost any age bracket, I think this would make an exceptional gift for girl or woman over the age of ten or so. This would be an especially impactful gift for any young girl who dreams of becoming a writer. You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa | Read Between the Spines

    *I received an e-ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.* I found the premise for Why She Wrote to be super interesting. The introduction made me super excited to read the rest of the book. The book is divided into chapters that feature three to four female writers. Each author has a portrait and a one-page biography. This is then followed by several pages of graphic storytelling and finally two pages that contained factoids, like connections to other *I received an e-ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.* I found the premise for Why She Wrote to be super interesting. The introduction made me super excited to read the rest of the book. The book is divided into chapters that feature three to four female writers. Each author has a portrait and a one-page biography. This is then followed by several pages of graphic storytelling and finally two pages that contained factoids, like connections to other authors, and selected works. I found this approach to be really disjointed. The transition from written biography to graphic storytelling was often confusing. At first, I was unsure if the graphic portion was supposed to be a clip from their lives or a scene from one of their books. There was never an introduction to what exactly it was, and it didn't always connect to the biography. The chapters also were not tied together. I would have also liked there to be additional modern writers, especially BIPOC, such as Maya Angelou so that the book is not primarily white Europeans. As far as images and format go, it was okay. Within the illustrated sections, I found that the script font used was difficult to read and the rest of the font to be unattractive. The images themselves I liked although it was often difficult to tell one person apart from another. Overall, I ended up liking the concept much better than the actual book. It was a great idea that was not executed well. I think the book has a lot of potential but needs significant editing and changes prior to being published.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Haïfa

    ARC received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Why She Wrote is a lovely and enlightening collection of short biographies (1 or 2 pages) of 18 Anglophone woman writers (18th to 20th century). Each biography is paired with a comic depicting a key moment in the respective writer's life that influenced her career and prompted her to write a certain work.  Note: I loved how the authors' note mirrored this book by explaining why (and how ARC received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Why She Wrote is a lovely and enlightening collection of short biographies (1 or 2 pages) of 18 Anglophone woman writers (18th to 20th century). Each biography is paired with a comic depicting a key moment in the respective writer's life that influenced her career and prompted her to write a certain work.  Note: I loved how the authors' note mirrored this book by explaining why (and how) the authors decided to write it! The structure was very interesting. The biographies were written beautifully and recounted the important events of each writer's life and career in a way that conveyed how each aspect influenced the other. They also gave me an appreciation of how each writer's work impacted the literary world at the time and the huge challenges she had to face in a patriarchal society and, for some of the featured authors, a society that was strongly prejudiced against people of color. Each biography was concluded with a list of prominent works, many of which were immediately added to my TBR list.  The collection included some of the big names I expected to find, like Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters but I also discovered, with pleasure and curiosity, many names I never heard before and others whose works I read a while ago.   My only complaint is that the comics were rather on the short side. They were like peepholes overlooking a particular event that prompted the author to write a certain work. I wish they were longer or included a few panels explaining why every writer decided to start writing for the first time (which was what I expected when I requested this book).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kru

    A very beautifully illustrated compilation of anecdotes from the lives of 18 of the wonderful women authors, most influential pioneers who successfully brought down barriers, idols of every girl that bleed their opinions, promising them hope. The story behind the compilation is an interesting one as well. The layout combines both graphics and text, and the style is intriguing in it's own way. A must read for readers of all age and gender, this book is a celebration in itself. A very beautifully illustrated compilation of anecdotes from the lives of 18 of the wonderful women authors, most influential pioneers who successfully brought down barriers, idols of every girl that bleed their opinions, promising them hope. The story behind the compilation is an interesting one as well. The layout combines both graphics and text, and the style is intriguing in it's own way. A must read for readers of all age and gender, this book is a celebration in itself.

  12. 5 out of 5

    erin

    this was soooo adorable!!! loved this and it's such a unique idea. this part is a personal critique but netgalley made it extremely hard to read this. idk why but it was nearly impossible to scroll. this was soooo adorable!!! loved this and it's such a unique idea. this part is a personal critique but netgalley made it extremely hard to read this. idk why but it was nearly impossible to scroll.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    A nice selection for a coffee table or living room book. Part graphic novel and part mini-biography, Why She Wrote tries hard to balance each featured woman's life while making the text conversational and informative. I don't think this quite managed it, but if, as a reader, you stay properly paced and don't try to push through this in one sitting (or even two or three), it's easier to consume without feeling the formula hit so hard and repetitively for each subject. In addition, each author has A nice selection for a coffee table or living room book. Part graphic novel and part mini-biography, Why She Wrote tries hard to balance each featured woman's life while making the text conversational and informative. I don't think this quite managed it, but if, as a reader, you stay properly paced and don't try to push through this in one sitting (or even two or three), it's easier to consume without feeling the formula hit so hard and repetitively for each subject. In addition, each author has a scene taken from their lives that's illustrated for the embedded graphic novel portions. The graphics here were a nice mix of cutesy and accessible, but some of the scenes were strange choices and seemed odd to have been selected for the graphic display, while others felt as pivotal as they were presumably supposed to feel. What I did appreciate was how each author's works were listed at the end of their segments and how each seemed to have gotten a balanced portion of the book. I do wish the book explored more of each woman's drive to write and answered the titular question for each woman of why she wrote instead of more or less giving the times when their writing lives began. But the bios for each are so short, there just wouldn't necessarily be room. This felt very close to Decorating a Room of One's Own: Conversations on Interior Design with Miss Havisham, Jane Eyre, Victor Frankenstein, Elizabeth Bennet, Ishmael, and Other Literary Notables in some ways, and also to the children's bio series Who Was? [Is?]. I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This affected neither my opinion of the book, nor the content of my review. Note: I first had this galley on my Kindle, but once I realized the number of graphic elements that were included, I switched it over to the Kindle app on my iPad and was pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous color that makes up these mini graphic novel segments. Given that it's from Chronicle Books, I should've known how colorful it would be.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lily Williams

    Why She Wrote is exactly up my alley, so I knew I’d like it when the book arrived in the mail (thank you Chronicle Books for the early finished copy)… however, what I didn’t expect is that this book would make me feel all the feelings. I laughed and cried, I mourned and celebrated, I excitedly shared facts after reading, but most wonderfully… I savored it. A thoughtfully put together biographical anthology featuring a diverse group of historical western women writers and the intricacies they face Why She Wrote is exactly up my alley, so I knew I’d like it when the book arrived in the mail (thank you Chronicle Books for the early finished copy)… however, what I didn’t expect is that this book would make me feel all the feelings. I laughed and cried, I mourned and celebrated, I excitedly shared facts after reading, but most wonderfully… I savored it. A thoughtfully put together biographical anthology featuring a diverse group of historical western women writers and the intricacies they faced as pioneers in their field. Why She Wrote features fan favorites like Jane Austen and the Bronte Sisters, but also lesser known but no less important writers like Frances E. W. Harper and Mary Wollstonecraft. This book differs from biography anthology books by the addition of graphic novel pages, illustrated anecdotes, and a list of the writers works (which is a welcome addition for future TBR lists). I think the graphic novel pages are what makes this book so unique and wonderful - it feels like an immersive experience rather than a collection of interesting biographies. The graphic novel pages are illustrated in a lively manner by Kaley Bales and they do an excellent job of dropping you into a variety of moments of these women’s lives. The illustrations are cartoony and often very fun; however, Bales doesn’t shy away from the serious nature of many of the topics, even illustrating some rather gruesome details (in the case of Frances Burney). A personal favorite detail of mine was how accurate all the costuming was! The illustrations really plunge you in the time and place for each writer, which gives each of the women a unique and lasting impression on the reader. I strongly recommend this book to fans of comics, history, and bonnets! Which certainly means it has mass appeal… for who doesn’t love that winning combo?

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shruti Zun

    Why she wrote, a personal frank and dynamic view on authoress who ruled the literary world of 18th and 19th century. It is a splendid collection with lesbian history, their drive to write and the best part, the compilation of writes and poetry books. Ah, this was an inspiration in its own ways. From Bronte sisters, Mary Shelly, her equally no even more amazing mother Mary Wollstonecraft ❤ to lesser known authors I didn't even know but have now inflamed a dire urge to read the incredible women's w Why she wrote, a personal frank and dynamic view on authoress who ruled the literary world of 18th and 19th century. It is a splendid collection with lesbian history, their drive to write and the best part, the compilation of writes and poetry books. Ah, this was an inspiration in its own ways. From Bronte sisters, Mary Shelly, her equally no even more amazing mother Mary Wollstonecraft ❤ to lesser known authors I didn't even know but have now inflamed a dire urge to read the incredible women's works. Why She Wrote explores life, private and professional of the authoress. An informative read on scale of 8/10. The best thing, three of these stunning authors passed the copy right law whuch revolutionized lives of authors and publishers. Thanks to Netgally got an inspiration to write despite all the odds. For these strong willed woman thrived in times when women were treated as second class. A tiny minu regret which the authors of Why She Wrote explained was - They wanted to include more woman authors but couldn't in first series. I was hoping to see Agatha Christie! But overall fun read. Book 7 of January Book 7 of 2021

  16. 5 out of 5

    The Sassy Bookworm

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I found this one incredibly interesting. I loved the brief biographies. The graphic storytelling angle added even more enjoyment and was beautiful. Again, not the best book to read on a tablet. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I think these types of books are better in physical form. In fact, I think this one would make a most excellent coffee-table book. **ARC Via NetGalley**

  17. 4 out of 5

    *Tau*

    All these strong women writers from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries Didn't back down for obstacles and saw life as a barrel full of possibilities They followed their heart and dreams, and clearly had a mind of their own You'll often be amazed by the pieces of their life that in this book are shown ***************************************************************** Bonnets at Dawn It all started with the podcast Austen vs. Brontë: Bonnets at Dawn. Initially only 12 episodes were planned in which the liv All these strong women writers from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries Didn't back down for obstacles and saw life as a barrel full of possibilities They followed their heart and dreams, and clearly had a mind of their own You'll often be amazed by the pieces of their life that in this book are shown ***************************************************************** Bonnets at Dawn It all started with the podcast Austen vs. Brontë: Bonnets at Dawn. Initially only 12 episodes were planned in which the lives and works of Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë would be compared to each other. But along the way it became clear that both women showed lots of similarities and that - even though their writing was different - their struggles and independent visions were very much alike. Furthermore, by talking about these two women in the podcast, it became clear that other female authors always came back in the conversations: authors who influenced Austen and Brontë and/or authors who were influenced by them. 'Austen vs. Brontë' was dropped from the name and the podcast became a space where the lives and work of women writers from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries were discussed. If you're interested to discover this podcast (which already counts 136 episodes now), you can head over to Bonnets at Dawn. Nothing is impossible to a determined woman The hosts of the podcast, Lauren Burke and Hannah K. Chapman, worked together with illustrator Kaley Bales to create a book about 18 of these inspiring women authors. Six chapters shine a light on a different aspect that each time connects three women: - The horror of the everyday - Finding their voice - Activism as art - Private lives - Public identities - Protection and profit Thus 18 fascinating portraits are presented, both from women who are very well-known (like the three sisters Brontë, Louisa May Alcott, …) as women who may be lesser known but therefore certainly not less interesting (like Frances E.W. Harper, Anne Lister, Edith Maude Eaton, …). Of course, this also depends on your own foreknowledge. Each chapter follows the same structure: An introduction of two pages lets you discover what the three women have in common with each other and thus how they relate to the main theme of the chapter. Then every woman writer is put in the spotlight. After an interesting one page-biography follows a graphic novel that often delves deeper into a certain aspect of their life. Finally some fun facts are presented as well as a bibliography which is classified according to the type of works (travelogues, short stories, novels, nonfiction, plays, poetry). The visual appeal is the greatest asset of this book. Not often do you encounter books with a combination of interesting text, graphic novel and fun facts. Although the graphic novel-parts may be a bit confusing as they go back and forth in time or the characters sometimes look alike, they add a nice touch to the whole. As 'old' literature is presented in such an attractive way, it's easy to imagine that this book could be successfully used in high schools to encourage younger generations to read 'classics'. Does this mean that this book is suited for everyone? No. If you already know much about these women, the content will probably be too concise. But if you don't know them already (or at least not so well), this book is a very nice first acquaintance that incites you to further explore their interesting lives and many works. Warning Reading about these pioneers in different fields (equal rights for women, coloured people, …) and about their modern views (about gender, business, society, …), can have severe side effects. Not only will you want to learn more about these women themselves, but your 'want to read'-list will grow as well because lots of their books will make you curious. Bearing in mind that these women authors lived in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, most of the mentioned works are part of the public domain and thus can be read through websites like Project Gutenberg. *Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for providing an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    ℳacarena

    Wonderful! Original, inspiring and very informative. The reasons why those eighteen women started writing are indeed the same. Some of them had more reasons to add, such as earning money to help their families, but the essence is always the same. There are several details about many of these writers I didn't know, so it's been quite an enjoyable reading. The comics about each one show determined moments of their lifes in relation to their experiences with writing: declined manuscripts, mysogenist Wonderful! Original, inspiring and very informative. The reasons why those eighteen women started writing are indeed the same. Some of them had more reasons to add, such as earning money to help their families, but the essence is always the same. There are several details about many of these writers I didn't know, so it's been quite an enjoyable reading. The comics about each one show determined moments of their lifes in relation to their experiences with writing: declined manuscripts, mysogenist comments and critics about their works and/or personal life, lack of time, among others. Another experience they all have in common is how hard they had to work to prove they could write important and outstanding stories; they had to struggle daily with a sexist society, where writing, as well as many other things, was for men. If women were to write, they could only do it about religious topics or flowery romance. They weren't believed to be able to write serious and/or clever stories. Thanks to Chronicle Books and NetGalley for providing me with this e-arc in exchange for my honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Mahoney (The Reading Nook)

    Pub Date: April 20, 2021 I adored this one! It was so beautifully illustrated and the concept of focusing on women authors of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries - who pioneered the lit scene for women - was fantastic. I enjoyed learning more about authors such as Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, and the Bronte sisters. The format is that of which each woman is celebrated with a summary of what inspired her to write, followed by graphics that depict a pivotal moment in her life. This book explores women Pub Date: April 20, 2021 I adored this one! It was so beautifully illustrated and the concept of focusing on women authors of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries - who pioneered the lit scene for women - was fantastic. I enjoyed learning more about authors such as Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, and the Bronte sisters. The format is that of which each woman is celebrated with a summary of what inspired her to write, followed by graphics that depict a pivotal moment in her life. This book explores women and their untold histories, including: "The success of Little Women, the diary of the 'first modern lesbian,' Austen's struggle with writer's block, and the forgotten mother of the gothic genre" (@netgalley). Highly recommend this book! Overall, I gave it 4.5/5 Stars. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Savannah (Readbetweenthespine)

    Thank you Net Galley for this e-arc! I absolutely loved this book. I learned so much about many of my favorite authors and learned about so many I hadn’t heard of. The inclusion of half narrative and half graphic novel format was really unique but I think they successfully accomplished the combination. I really liked how they divided the chapters; it allowed the book to flow. Additionally, I think the authors did a really great job in deciding which authors to focus on and how they all connected Thank you Net Galley for this e-arc! I absolutely loved this book. I learned so much about many of my favorite authors and learned about so many I hadn’t heard of. The inclusion of half narrative and half graphic novel format was really unique but I think they successfully accomplished the combination. I really liked how they divided the chapters; it allowed the book to flow. Additionally, I think the authors did a really great job in deciding which authors to focus on and how they all connected versus choosing a huge selection of authors and creating a messy narrative. I appreciated that they included WOC as well and I really enjoyed learning about their lives. The only negative remark I have is that the cursive font is incredibly difficult to read especially on an e-reader. I think this could make the book inaccessible to many folks who suffer from vision disorders. I wear glasses and found it difficult to enjoy which was a bummer because I loved the graphic novel bits.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Liquidwitch

    Been waiting to get stuck into this for a while end ended up reading the whole thing in one gleeful sitting- it made me so happy! Excellent choice of moments from all the different writer's lives, art you can fall in love with (Especially with George Elliot and her husband 😍) and the descriptive biography bits were a great ballance of breezy and informative too. Been waiting to get stuck into this for a while end ended up reading the whole thing in one gleeful sitting- it made me so happy! Excellent choice of moments from all the different writer's lives, art you can fall in love with (Especially with George Elliot and her husband 😍) and the descriptive biography bits were a great ballance of breezy and informative too.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Marie

    3.25 stars. This was a really nice mix between information and comic strips of famous women who wrote, but I didn't feel like I got a whole lot of information on any of the women, especially when I am already familiar with some of them from Monster, She Wrote. Review to come. 3.25 stars. This was a really nice mix between information and comic strips of famous women who wrote, but I didn't feel like I got a whole lot of information on any of the women, especially when I am already familiar with some of them from Monster, She Wrote. Review to come.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    This is a great book. I have so many of these biography anthology comic books about women now. Each one is great in their own way. I think I liked this one better because it's more about writers and books and my subject matter. This one seemed more organized too. It focuses only on women writers during the 19th century (she mentions why in the introduction). I feel like they could do more of these comics, but at the same time I'm happy. I really enjoyed the fact this was well researched, with a This is a great book. I have so many of these biography anthology comic books about women now. Each one is great in their own way. I think I liked this one better because it's more about writers and books and my subject matter. This one seemed more organized too. It focuses only on women writers during the 19th century (she mentions why in the introduction). I feel like they could do more of these comics, but at the same time I'm happy. I really enjoyed the fact this was well researched, with a bibliography, and the art is really good too.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tia Schmidt

    The overall premise of Why She Wrote really caught my attention, but the execution just didn't work well for me. I expected a full graphic novel detailing the lives of women authors, but instead, it was a mix between written biography and graphic novel in a way that just didn't work well together. I can definitely see how people would love this, but it just wasn't what I expected and isn't my taste. Ultimately, the flow, pacing, and organization of the collection threw me off. Not to mention, th The overall premise of Why She Wrote really caught my attention, but the execution just didn't work well for me. I expected a full graphic novel detailing the lives of women authors, but instead, it was a mix between written biography and graphic novel in a way that just didn't work well together. I can definitely see how people would love this, but it just wasn't what I expected and isn't my taste. Ultimately, the flow, pacing, and organization of the collection threw me off. Not to mention, the lack of BIPOC in this is... frightening. "Classic" women's literature needs to stop being confined down to European/American white women. The oppression they felt and their stories are extremely important to discuss and never forget, but there are women with different experiences that still count as classic literature. If you're going to discuss classic women's work, let's at least make it inclusive of ALL women. Most of the authors that were included in this graphic story had similar experiences and that allows for easy comparison between them, but that's looking at the world from only a Eurocentric viewpoint which just cannot be tolerated in these times. Overall, I enjoyed learning more about authors I had some knowledge about and learning of authors I wasn't familiar with at all. I also really liked the list of works at the end of each author's story. I will definitely use those to add to my more detailed list of classic works to get through. But, alas, I just felt this wasn't particularly inclusive and the organization threw the flow off for me personally. *Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for an Advanced Readers Copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    biblio_mom (Aiza)

    “Having their voices heard without prejudice or censure was more important than staying quiet. By removing their names and identities from the picture, these authors allowed their work to speak for them”. This book is an autobiography with short graphic novel about 18 women authors and poets. It was an inspiring and empowering read for me. I cannot imagine for not being able to read from a woman’s point of views. and If its not for these strong willed women, fighting for their voices to be heard “Having their voices heard without prejudice or censure was more important than staying quiet. By removing their names and identities from the picture, these authors allowed their work to speak for them”. This book is an autobiography with short graphic novel about 18 women authors and poets. It was an inspiring and empowering read for me. I cannot imagine for not being able to read from a woman’s point of views. and If its not for these strong willed women, fighting for their voices to be heard, written words to be read, we might never have certain knowledge about women basic rights in social issues, politics, medical, and many more. There’s one particular author interest me so much, she goes by the pen name of Sui Sin Far. Her real name is Edith Maude Eaton, and she is an Eurasian, and her writing focuses on the lives of Eurasian children and young people. Growing up in a predominantly white country is challenging and trying back in the days. During her mid-twenties, she worked as a reporter, tasked with reporting on the lives, cultural norms, traditions, political stance, and customs of the migrant Chinese workers living in Montreal. To protect herself and those she wrote about, she remained anonymous in her articles. A fascinating read, this one! and it deserves a place on my classic literature shelf. Getting to know the backstory of their hardships in writing and what more publishing in an era where men are superior, made me appreciate classic literature written by women more.

  26. 5 out of 5

    mohini☆

    Where do I find more of classic plus graphic? This little treasure was all about the 18 most renowned and loved women writers who’ve made their mark in the literature world. Some of them have touched insurmountable popularity while some of them are relatively lesser-known and nonetheless talented and persisting. Though they differ from each other with their ruled eras and styles adopted or even genres, the purpose behind compiling their stories was to show how the world has time and time tried to Where do I find more of classic plus graphic? This little treasure was all about the 18 most renowned and loved women writers who’ve made their mark in the literature world. Some of them have touched insurmountable popularity while some of them are relatively lesser-known and nonetheless talented and persisting. Though they differ from each other with their ruled eras and styles adopted or even genres, the purpose behind compiling their stories was to show how the world has time and time tried to belittle works of the women calling it unintentional and inferior to those compared with the male populace. When I started reading this, I got a bit overwhelmed with the names and famous titles since I haven’t read much of the classics, but then I tried to look at it as an introduction which honestly, got me intrigued and kept me learning more. As someone who’s fascinated by the classics but is a complete fledgling, this was very helpful. I also loved the artwork and how they chose the perfect scene in their respective lives to depict through graphics. Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    Why She Wrote is perfectly suited for a new generation of young feminists. In one healthy volume, Burke, Chapman, and Bales have anthologized the most consistently studied women writers from a fresh perspective with the use of the graphic novel format and thematic organization as opposed to a chronological one. Whether a reader is a writer becomes secondary to the cultural insights provided by the introduction to each flash biography. We learn of struggles, perseverance, successes, and defeats. Why She Wrote is perfectly suited for a new generation of young feminists. In one healthy volume, Burke, Chapman, and Bales have anthologized the most consistently studied women writers from a fresh perspective with the use of the graphic novel format and thematic organization as opposed to a chronological one. Whether a reader is a writer becomes secondary to the cultural insights provided by the introduction to each flash biography. We learn of struggles, perseverance, successes, and defeats. Key works by each author are highlighted; in addition, the graphic novel portion often connects the works to their inspirations or their place in the author’s life events and complete body of publications. The amount of detail contained in Why She Wrote is impressive. Unfortunately, this may turn some readers away. Once the structure has been established, it becomes repetitive, perhaps making the book more useful as a reference resource or a teaching supplement for lessons on individual authors. As a cover to cover read or in bits at a time, this one crosses genre lines to become something fresh and new. It is a bold undertaking by three women who pay homage to but also work in the very essence of the artists they have memorialized. Thank you to the authors/illustrators, Chronicle Books, and NetGalley for an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I loved this! Short biographies (1/2 pages) folllowed by a few pages of illustrated novel for a part of each writer's lives, both really well done. I love the head subchapters' illustrations in this! This book serves as a small intro and give ways to further your knowledge! “The connections between these women tell us so much—the similarities between their careers; the way they explored the same themes; how they inspired one another; and the overlap with our modern-day experiences of writer’s blo I loved this! Short biographies (1/2 pages) folllowed by a few pages of illustrated novel for a part of each writer's lives, both really well done. I love the head subchapters' illustrations in this! This book serves as a small intro and give ways to further your knowledge! “The connections between these women tell us so much—the similarities between their careers; the way they explored the same themes; how they inspired one another; and the overlap with our modern-day experiences of writer’s block, financial insecurity, and fights for equality.” The 18 writers chosen are known in classic literature (some more than others), that you'll enjoy reading about even if you (like me) don't know their works. I found their stories really interesting, each with a different and inspiring life story to tell! - also because you have writers with different backgrounds, featuring women of colour and queer women! Organizing it by theme (3 writers in each) was also a brilliant way to do it; showing how they link to one another (sometimes in their social lives) or what and how much of an impact they had in the world around them/us. Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the eARC.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Why She Wrote provides a short overview of women writers throughout history. I was really drawn to this book to learn more about women writers and it was very informative while being concise. This book is part written biography and part graphic novel, which at points I enjoyed and other parts I found it to not flow. At times it was was hard to follow the story in the graphic novel sections as there wasn't much background to what was happening. I learned a lot from this book and found the overvie Why She Wrote provides a short overview of women writers throughout history. I was really drawn to this book to learn more about women writers and it was very informative while being concise. This book is part written biography and part graphic novel, which at points I enjoyed and other parts I found it to not flow. At times it was was hard to follow the story in the graphic novel sections as there wasn't much background to what was happening. I learned a lot from this book and found the overviews of the writers to be so interesting. The illustrations were not my favorite and sometimes the script used was difficult to read. Overall, I think this was a really cool way to discuss classic women writers and think those who love classics would really enjoy this book. Thank you to NetGalley for the digital ARC.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andreea B.

    Just adored it. AND I DON'T LIKE NON-FICTION BOOKS. I think that the authors that were selected were perfect and I really liked how with such little informations I saw the human part of the authors of some books I adore. I also liked the representation, from this book I descovered new classics to read. New authors of color and LGBTQ+ authors. It was such a good combination of real life facts about women authors and storyline that the graphic novel part seemed like a story. I, in such little time, Just adored it. AND I DON'T LIKE NON-FICTION BOOKS. I think that the authors that were selected were perfect and I really liked how with such little informations I saw the human part of the authors of some books I adore. I also liked the representation, from this book I descovered new classics to read. New authors of color and LGBTQ+ authors. It was such a good combination of real life facts about women authors and storyline that the graphic novel part seemed like a story. I, in such little time, grew attached to the characters of the stories I was reading. A fantastic book.

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