A Girl Walks Into a Book: What the Brontës Taught Me about Life, Love, and Women’s Work

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Miranda Pennington’s Girl Walks Into a Book is the kind of labor of love only a truly devoted reader could write. Her passion for the Brontës—Charlotte, Anne, Emily, and yes, even Branwell—is present on every page. Part love letter to the literary family that shaped her bibliophilia, part memoir, the book has moments of deep engagement, particularly when Pennington parallels her own life with episodes from Brontë books.

Pennington’s scholarship on the Brontës is extensive. Her discussion of their juvenilia, the recounting of her process of discovery of their works, and her abiding dislike for certain of those works, while interesting, is perhaps best suited for an audience deeply familiar with the Brontës already. At times, the book is a bit summary-heavy, recounting plot twists and character arcs that only seem to exist to show Pennington’s knowledge of them. Her recounting is clever, and her voice incredibly personal and heartfelt, but in the end if the Brontës aren’t your thing, this book is most likely not right for you.

The most successful passages are those that lean more toward memoir. As Pennington relates coming to terms with her own bisexuality—including a hilarious coming out phone call to her parents—she is so very relatable. Her personal journey to finding love is fraught with peril and awkward texting and missed signals that feel eminently familiar. Perhaps, in telling her story, she wants her reader to connect with her as she always has with the Brontës. If so, we can only assume their stories made her feel validated and vindicated and inspired, just as her story makes us feel.


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Author Miranda Pennington
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Seal Press
Publish Date 2017-May-16
ISBN 9781580056571
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2017
Category Modern Literature
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