Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for this free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke and Hannah K. Chapman offers a snapshot into 18 badass women authors throughout history and, as title states, gives insight into why they wrote. Each author has an introduction which is followed by a very mini graphic novel-esque representation (illustrated by Kaley Bales) of an important period in that author’s life. A brief wrap-up is then provided, along with a bibliography of the author’s works.
I thought this was an interesting and creative way to present information about these women. I was a little jarred at first when the introduction to the first author went straight into the illustrated section–primarily because I wasn’t sure what that section was supposed to be about at first. I had to go back and forth between the author introduction and the illustrated section to understand that the “graphic novel” aspect was elaborating on information given in the introduction. Once I caught on, however, I found it enjoyable. Some of the information was familiar to me–particularly concerning Mary Shelley and Jane Austen, but a lot was new! Why She Wrote is laid out in such a way that you can spent an afternoon consuming these brief histories, or read about a new author each time you pick it up. Many of the authors discussed I have either never read anything by, or read a long time ago, and my interest has definitely been piqued! I’m a fan of biographies and when I was younger, I read and reread a biography of Louisa May Alcott that was adapted for younger readers. I loved it, and when I reached the chapter about her, I found myself thinking back to that biography and wanting to perhaps read a grown-up biography on Alcott. Thankfully, Burke and Chapman have provided a solid sources/further reading list at the end of this book. In true English major fashion, I am excited to extend my knowledge!
If you are a fan of knowing random facts and/or are interested in learning more about classic women authors but don’t want to jump into exhaustive biographies just yet, this would be a great one to start with! I also think this would be an excellent book to have in a classroom library and I plan on including a copy in mine.