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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

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    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 💞

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 5 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shruti Z

    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

  8. 4 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Savannah

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 5 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).

  14. 4 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!

  15. 5 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    The Curious Wanderer

    Thanks a million to Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me to look through the rest of this graphic novel.. As much as it’s a nice idea to give a background on well-known authors, I think the text should have been less and more focused as a whole graphic novel.. I also felt the text was rather small to read on the graphic part. Yeah to conclude, it would be better with pictures and a tiny bit of text..

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I would like to thank netgalley and Chronicle Books for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This is everything I wanted it to be! I loved the illustrations, and the focus on women of colour alongside white women. If you love the book, check out the podcast Bonnets At Dawn, and if you love the podcast you'll love the book. I would like to thank netgalley and Chronicle Books for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This is everything I wanted it to be! I loved the illustrations, and the focus on women of colour alongside white women. If you love the book, check out the podcast Bonnets At Dawn, and if you love the podcast you'll love the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Thank You to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Wow! I am obsessed with this book! I was initially interested in reading this as I love the Brontes + Jane Austen and wanted to learn more about some of my other favourite female authors that paved the way for the future of literature. I learned SO much that I didn’t already know! This made me want to explore more of the works of the authors mentioned in this book. If you’re looking for an expans Thank You to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Wow! I am obsessed with this book! I was initially interested in reading this as I love the Brontes + Jane Austen and wanted to learn more about some of my other favourite female authors that paved the way for the future of literature. I learned SO much that I didn’t already know! This made me want to explore more of the works of the authors mentioned in this book. If you’re looking for an expansive history of each of these writers, this is not what you’re going to get out of this. It’s more of a condensed biography of each writer’s background and how/ why they turned to writing. Accompanying each mini bio is a comic depicting an important aspect in that woman’s life. My only little critique is in the production of this book. Some of the comics have cursive and the font size is so small that it’s pretty illegible, especially if you were reading this on a small screen like I was. I ended up giving this a solid 4.5/5 stars + is perfect for any literary lover!

  20. 5 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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    May

    Why She Wrote offers a look into the lives and motivations of many well loved female authors. Although I loved the diversity and inclusivity(it was not solely white straight women), this book wasn’t really for me. While it was very informative, it was mainly just a straight biography. There was some inclusion of graphics, but those were quite short and many of the fonts were unreadable. I will say though that many will love this book! Those who really like informative texts especially will find Why She Wrote offers a look into the lives and motivations of many well loved female authors. Although I loved the diversity and inclusivity(it was not solely white straight women), this book wasn’t really for me. While it was very informative, it was mainly just a straight biography. There was some inclusion of graphics, but those were quite short and many of the fonts were unreadable. I will say though that many will love this book! Those who really like informative texts especially will find this book to their liking. And I did love the way the book was formatted! Another notable fact is that I finished this book in one sitting! The book is very engaging, but not really my thing. I will check out the authors other works and maybe the podcast that is mentioned though! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an arc of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bon

    Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy for review! This was a fantastic, interesting and easy read. I loved it, and I hope many others can discover and love it too; I was aided by being a fervent listener of the authors' podcast, Bonnets At Dawn. I heard about their book and immediately ordered it, knowing these ladies to be knowledgeable, engaging, very relatable, and "woke" in their approaches to literary analysis. My first impressions were excellent! The book's a very doable length and i Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy for review! This was a fantastic, interesting and easy read. I loved it, and I hope many others can discover and love it too; I was aided by being a fervent listener of the authors' podcast, Bonnets At Dawn. I heard about their book and immediately ordered it, knowing these ladies to be knowledgeable, engaging, very relatable, and "woke" in their approaches to literary analysis. My first impressions were excellent! The book's a very doable length and incredibly aesthetically pleasing, cheery to the eye. The font-type is extremely readable. I had already pre-ordered this, but I'm even more excited now that I've seen the amazing art and design choices made in the book. Half is blocks of narrative text, half is panels of awesome comic paneling, and there are neat little doodles and trivia strewn between as well.  It opens on a discussion of the gothic novel, so I was immediately invested; the book knows what it's doing and is well-organized, grouping women by concepts like pioneering genres, social justice platforms, writing not as an artistic outlet but for pragmatic and family-supporting reasons, etc.This is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive chronicle of women writers but it's foundational and an excellent introduction to many of these women. It's so fun, and would have appealed to thirteen year-old Bon reading her first Jane Austen just as much as the Bon of today, a millennial exhausted by a pandemic and looking for something easily consumable.  It must also be mentioned how impressed I was with the array of writers introduced here. I thought a lot of this would be re-treading ground from the podcast, but then I came across inclusions like Edith Maude Eaton, a half-Chinese writer whom I'd never heard of and whose works I am going to enthusiastically hunt down. The writers selected for the book were so delightfully diverse - race, socioeconomic class, genres they wrote, and the variety made the book so much more revelatory.  All in all, this was an entertaining and educational book, in a very readable package, so it earns a full five stars from me. 

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Goodfellow

    ⭐️3 Stars ⭐️ A beautifully constructed graphic novel that explores the lives of women writers throughout time while educating the reader about their past, what influenced their work, and how they affected literature and culture even after their deaths. In reading this novel, we understand why these women wrote. Since this book features biographical pages and comic panels that detail significant events about the women's lives, I feel that it gives a unique, intimate look into the lives of those it ⭐️3 Stars ⭐️ A beautifully constructed graphic novel that explores the lives of women writers throughout time while educating the reader about their past, what influenced their work, and how they affected literature and culture even after their deaths. In reading this novel, we understand why these women wrote. Since this book features biographical pages and comic panels that detail significant events about the women's lives, I feel that it gives a unique, intimate look into the lives of those it covers. Although, at times, I felt that the level of detail included in the biographical sections impacted the pacing of the comic panels negatively, this did not hinder my enjoyment of this book. I believe that this novel contains some beautiful scenes able to deepen the feeling of intimacy between the reader and the historical figure. I learned about the lives of queer women, whom I knew little about before reading this novel. And I enjoyed these chapters immensely. I would love for the editors of this novel to collaborate again on a second volume of this wonderful book. If they were to do this, I would like to see a more diverse selection of women than those they chose to cover in this novel, perhaps covering more POC writers and queer writers of history. This book is suitable for readers of any age who want to learn about some of the most influential women writers the world has ever seen. And since each section ends with an invitation to read the featured authors' works, I feel that this novel will encourage many young readers to enter the realm of classic literature with an open mind so they can be ready to read critically and question the canon popularised by old white male academics. You Should Read This Book if you Like: + Easily Digestible History 📚 + Beautiful Art ✍ I received an advance review copy for free via NetGalley. I am leaving this review voluntarily 📚.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Margarida de Sousa (IcthusBookCorner)

    First of all, I want to thank Chronicle Books for the ARC. 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 and I thought this book was a neat take on a biography. It's such a unique idea, and honestly one of the most informative books I've ever come across. However, I found the transition from written biography to graphic novel mode was often disorienting. Within the illustrated sections, I found that the script font First of all, I want to thank Chronicle Books for the ARC. 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 and I thought this book was a neat take on a biography. It's such a unique idea, and honestly one of the most informative books I've ever come across. However, I found the transition from written biography to graphic novel mode was often disorienting. Within the illustrated sections, I found that the script font used was difficult to read and the font used in the rest of the book quite unattractive. The images themselves I liked, they were cute but nothing out of this world. I found the stories of the women interesting, but the writing of the stories not so much, which is sad. More often than not, I was reading just in hopes to see if the chapter on the next writer/author was any better. With that being said, I think this book has a place on a shelf of a child with interest in literature and whose parents/teachers are enlighted enough to want their kid/student to read about the power of female authors. To sum up, I ended up liking the concept more than the actual book itself and maybe it was just not that well executed. I think the book has potential but needs significant editing and changes before being published. I think it is also very important to mention that the book is very euro-centric and I think it's time to stop associating classics exclusively to white authors. (review on my blog available on the 1st of January: https://icthusbookcorner.wordpress.co...)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free digital copy of this book for exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. Why She Wrote is a graphic biography of 18 well known women writers. Burke and Chapman let us explore the lives behind many of the writers we love from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Why She Wrote discusses the backstories of many authors while highlighting some very important topics and difficulties that they had to overcome. I really e Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free digital copy of this book for exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. Why She Wrote is a graphic biography of 18 well known women writers. Burke and Chapman let us explore the lives behind many of the writers we love from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Why She Wrote discusses the backstories of many authors while highlighting some very important topics and difficulties that they had to overcome. I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I love books that look at different women from history and the mix between informative paragraphs for introduction to the subtopic and for each author alongside the graphic novel narrative that follows made the reading experience great. I found myself learning a lot through both storytelling forms and enjoying it. As I read, I kept wanting to pick up all of the books that were mentioned for each author so don't be surprised to see me reading some Bronte and Austen books soon lol. I really liked the artwork in this graphic novel. I found it fit well with what was being discussed and was really well done. Having the same illustrator for all of the "chapters" allows for consistency while also seeing some slight changes depending on the topics. The reason this is not getting 5 stars is because I did lose interest part way and did have to remind myself to keep reading. I did find some sections to be repetitive and I think this was the reason why I struggled a little bit and it was mainly in sections about the authors I didn't really know. However, I still think this was a great book, once I was able to get back on track and back to authors I know, I thoroughly loved and enjoyed it. Would recommend 100% to readers of all ages.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Stouffer

    Thank you to Chronicle Books, Hannah K. Chapman, Lauren Burke, and Kaley Bales for the eARC copy of “Why She Wrote” (via NetGalley) “Why She Wrote” is a graphic novel that showcases female writers from the 18th - 20th centuries and the struggles that they endured to become the famous authors we know today. I love the concept of a non-fiction graphic novel, and I enjoyed the formatting of this book (which showed one author at a time, first writing a small biography of their lives, then showing gra Thank you to Chronicle Books, Hannah K. Chapman, Lauren Burke, and Kaley Bales for the eARC copy of “Why She Wrote” (via NetGalley) “Why She Wrote” is a graphic novel that showcases female writers from the 18th - 20th centuries and the struggles that they endured to become the famous authors we know today. I love the concept of a non-fiction graphic novel, and I enjoyed the formatting of this book (which showed one author at a time, first writing a small biography of their lives, then showing graphic pages from a moment of their lives, followed by a fun fact and selected works). It was so interesting to look at the lives of these women whose works are so well known, while their lives tend to remain a mystery. That being said, I would have loved more details about each woman within the graphic comic pages. Sometimes they felt a little clunky, jumping from one frame to the next and some ending abruptly. The comics sometimes left me with more questions than answers. Also, I would have loved to have seen a showcase of writers from places other than Europe and the United States. Of the 18 writers, only 3 were women of color. I think this could have been an excellent way to introduce women of color from Latin America, Asia, Africa, etc. If there will be a sequel to this book, I hope that it can focus on that. Overall, this would be a great read for teens and adults who loved reading classics from the authors listed in this book. For non-fiction, it was a quick read that was enjoyable! I would rate it 3.5 stars.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

    This is a nice overview of the lives and motivations of a selection of women writers from the 18th to early 20th centuries... and not just the ones you'd expect, either. Most readers will probably encounter at least a couple of names they haven't heard before. The reader grasps how incredibly easy it has been throughout history for women's creative works to be ignored, dismissed, or minimized. It's thought-provoking to consider that the catalog presented here is really only the tip of the iceber This is a nice overview of the lives and motivations of a selection of women writers from the 18th to early 20th centuries... and not just the ones you'd expect, either. Most readers will probably encounter at least a couple of names they haven't heard before. The reader grasps how incredibly easy it has been throughout history for women's creative works to be ignored, dismissed, or minimized. It's thought-provoking to consider that the catalog presented here is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to women who write. The book is part text and part graphic story, with each graphic depicting an author at a potential turning point in her life. I felt that the graphic stories would have benefited by some annotations (like those Sydney Padua made use of in The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage). There were multiple places where I could tell something interesting was being referenced in the artwork, but felt blind to its significance because I couldn't stitch together what it meant. Although I wanted that little bit of extra explanation, I did enjoy the book for the lively way it presented these women, and the emphasis on their reasons for writing. It made them feel very human and real, as opposed to distant, legendary, buttoned up figures. Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for this advance review copy.

  28. 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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anatl

    What an adorable book. This book serves as an appetizer to whet your thirst for some women writers. It is more inclusive than the English lit cannon I studied at university, so there were a few names I was not familiar with like the Chinese American Sui Sin Far the pen name of Edith Maude Eaton. There were also tidbits I didn't know about some of the more familiar authors. For example that Frances Burney has a mastectomy in 1811 and that she wrote about her operation and subsequent recovery. The What an adorable book. This book serves as an appetizer to whet your thirst for some women writers. It is more inclusive than the English lit cannon I studied at university, so there were a few names I was not familiar with like the Chinese American Sui Sin Far the pen name of Edith Maude Eaton. There were also tidbits I didn't know about some of the more familiar authors. For example that Frances Burney has a mastectomy in 1811 and that she wrote about her operation and subsequent recovery. The book also covers some more familiar ground, authors such as Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Louisa May Alcott, George Eliot, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Beatrix Potter. It is apparently based on a podcast which I have yet to check: Bonnets At Dawn. The authors are gathered by threes with some theme that unites them. The last chapter gathered three authors who fought for the protection of their work and their monetary rights. The is usually one or two pages of written biography followed by graphic storytelling that brings the historical setting to life. I found the format interesting but it did bother me a little that it disturbs the chronological order. Thank you to Chronicle Books and NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. #WhySheWrote #NetGalley

  30. 4 out of 5

    Readwithethel

    An insightful graphic novel making connections between those amazing women Key words: non-fiction, biography, graphic novel, history, classics, feminism The only problem with this graphic novel is that it made me add to many books to my Wishlist. I realised that those women are pioneers in the field of women’s literature and it is important to know what they have written. This graphic novel is very well, structured; it makes connection between the different presented authors (six section presentin An insightful graphic novel making connections between those amazing women Key words: non-fiction, biography, graphic novel, history, classics, feminism The only problem with this graphic novel is that it made me add to many books to my Wishlist. I realised that those women are pioneers in the field of women’s literature and it is important to know what they have written. This graphic novel is very well, structured; it makes connection between the different presented authors (six section presenting three authors that wrote for similar reasons). I enjoyed it a lot. I took my time to read it section by section, without rushing through. It is nice that every presentation starts with a general explanation about the author’s life and then a few drawn pages on a specific moment in the author’s life. Of course, the book is not enough to learn everything about each author but it is a great introduction which makes you want to learn more. Moreover, there were some authors I hadn’t even learnt about so that was really interesting. Finally, the artwork was very nice. It was a nice addition to the story, making it easier to read. I absolutely this insightful graphic novel. 4/5 Thank you Netgalley for this eArc in exchange of my honest opinion

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