A Girl Walks into a Book: What the Brontes Taught Me About Life, Love, and Women’s Work, by Miranda K. Pennington, is an interesting read. It combines the author’s story and that of the Brontes’, not only their books, but their lives, letters, literary criticism, and legacy. It would be a nice, girly read if this were set in Jane Austen, but the Bronte sisters are writers of another kind, sometimes romantic, sometimes wild, and often acerbic observers of their life and times, making this book more moody, unraveled, and lonely than something out of Austen. This Gothic atmosphere, filled with angst, love, and longing makes the perfect backdrop for Pennington’s own struggles, as a writer, in love, and as a woman.
This is about as far from dry, passionless literary criticism as you can get. Pennington treats the Bronte material with the reverence of a book lover, but never loses sight of the sisters also being human, with human foibles and vulnerabilities. She weaves her story through theirs to great dramatic effect, giving thoughtful examination to how literature can affect our lives, as well as the role it serves there. So, even if you’ve read the Brontes, there is much more to discover and enjoy here, especially for a light(er)hearted look at these unique authors and their spunky heroines.
An irredeemable farm girl, writer, and reviewer, Axie Barclay regularly neglects her children and loved ones to care for needy cows and herd incorrigible poultry with a cowardly dog. Her frequent pastimes include trying to can and find uses for inedible garden produce, such as green tomatoes and kohlrabi, and wasting time gazing lovingly at her significant other. She wanted to write more today, but the cat threw up, the toddler is coloring on the walls, there’s an ant infestation around the sink, and it looks like there’s a cow out.
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