Book Review: “The Hero is You” (Kendra Levin)

Usually I review young adult and middle grade speculative fiction books here, but if I find a craft or craft-related book that I think is really worthwhile, I’ll add it to the mix. That was definitely the case with Kendra Levin’s The Hero is You  (2016). It’s not a traditional craft book, but rather a book about a writer’s process based on Levin’s many years of experience as a life coach for authors and artistic professionals. She takes the unusual approaching of re-crafting the classic hero’s journey from literature as a structure to guide a writer’s process in a fascinating and effective way. The book can be read straight through or in chunks that are relevant to particular parts of an individual’s journey. It’s definitely a book many writers will dip back into, in whole or in part, over the years. She also includes a ton of really wonderful exercises geared toward writers who are better trying to understand their process and what gets in their way. So while you’re learning about who you are and how your process works, you’re also writing if you undertake the exercises. Levin is so well read and experienced that she draws from literature, psychology, her own coaching practice and observations from her own life and career to illustrate the points she makes in each chapter. The entire book is around 200 pages so you could easily read it in one sitting without doing the exercises, but even reading without attempting all the exercises, I found that I wanted to take my time with it and really pause to mull over the issues she raised in each chapter and section. The book is extremely hard to describe, and no description would probably do justice to the unusual but highly effective approach Levin takes here. I wholeheartedly suggest dipping into a copy and experiencing the fascinating approach to a writer’s process firsthand.

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