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How to Build a Girl PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: How to Build a Girl
Written by: Caitlin Moran
ISBN: null
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4.6 out of 5

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The New York Times bestselling author hailed as “the UK’s answer to Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, and Lena Dunham all rolled into one” (Marie Claire) makes her fiction debut with a hilarious yet deeply moving coming of age novel. What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop s The New York Times bestselling author hailed as “the UK’s answer to Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, and Lena Dunham all rolled into one” (Marie Claire) makes her fiction debut with a hilarious yet deeply moving coming of age novel. What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes—and build yourself. It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde—fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer—like Jo in Little Women, or the Bröntes—but without the dying young bit. By sixteen, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less. But what happens when Johanna realizes she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all? Imagine The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease. How to Build a Girl is a funny, poignant, and heartbreakingly evocative story of self-discovery and invention, as only Caitlin Moran could tell it.

30 review for How to Build a Girl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy Laurens

    I like to imagine, sometimes, that Caitlin Moran is my friend. We have such fun together in my head! You would love hanging with us. Shopping for orthopaedic boots, listening to shoegaze, and cackling like fishwives. We share stories about our fat, unpopular, wannabe-indie childhoods. We have loads to talk about. I love to hear her anecdotes! My friend Caitlin is proper funny. We talk a lot--Caitlin is a talker--and after a while I start to notice that I'm hearing a lot of her anecdotes more tha I like to imagine, sometimes, that Caitlin Moran is my friend. We have such fun together in my head! You would love hanging with us. Shopping for orthopaedic boots, listening to shoegaze, and cackling like fishwives. We share stories about our fat, unpopular, wannabe-indie childhoods. We have loads to talk about. I love to hear her anecdotes! My friend Caitlin is proper funny. We talk a lot--Caitlin is a talker--and after a while I start to notice that I'm hearing a lot of her anecdotes more than once. Like, some of them I've heard literally thirty times, and each time the details are a little different and she thinks of different jokes to spice them up. I still laugh at the jokes. But I start to wonder if we can't talk about something else for a while. This is the thing about How To Build A Girl: it's a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age first novel. It's a novelist's rite-of-passage: something they need to get out of their system before they can start telling other people's stories. But if that novelist has already worked their own story into a £250k a year career at the Times, a bestselling non-fiction book AND a TV pilot, you can't help but question their versatility. In some ways it's unfair of me to criticise Moran, who I think is an absurdly talented writer, for repeating her themes when I've just finished an Alice Munro short story collection in which every character was a mid-century woman from suburban Vancouver in an unsatisfying marriage with a father that ran a mink farm. No-one questions Munro's versatility. She's just won a Nobel prize. Plus, I lapped this up in less than 24 hours so I cannot claim I'm bored of the formula. Still, I can't help but notice that when the novel covers territory unfamiliar to Moran the writing is much less convincing: Moran was home-schooled and Johanna's school experience is no more than an afterthought. It was a shame. I would read the HELL out of a high-school comedy written by Caitlin Moran. Maybe next time she'll be ready to bust out of her comfort zone and try one.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bex Dawkins

    Oh Caitlin. Caitlin Moran is one of my favourite people. I've met her and she is awesome and so so nice. I adored How to Be a Woman, enjoy her Times articles, titter at her Twitter and was even glued to the pilot of her new tv series Raised by Wolves. I really wanted to love this... But I didn't. Don't get me wrong- I gave it 3 stars after all- and please do read it. I think Moran was trying so hard to get a million different points across that our heroine gets a little bit lost in it all. Johan Oh Caitlin. Caitlin Moran is one of my favourite people. I've met her and she is awesome and so so nice. I adored How to Be a Woman, enjoy her Times articles, titter at her Twitter and was even glued to the pilot of her new tv series Raised by Wolves. I really wanted to love this... But I didn't. Don't get me wrong- I gave it 3 stars after all- and please do read it. I think Moran was trying so hard to get a million different points across that our heroine gets a little bit lost in it all. Johanna is a chubby, loveable awkward teen, who suddenly transforms herself into a music writer for a big magazine who sleeps around, drinks copious amounts, gives bad reviews to everyone and calls herself Dolly Wilde. I want to like Dolly, but I miss Johanna. I don't think we had much chance to get to know her before she was moulded into someone else. Moran says she'll always write about a working class, chubby teenage girl from Wolverhampton because it's what she knows, but I think she injected too much of herself into Dolly/Johanna and didn't allow her character the space to breathe. Moran hasn't written fiction since her very early success with The Chronicles of Narmo, Dolly/Johanna is an interesting character (it's so refreshing to see a female character having adventures for once!) But I think that Moran will have more success as she gets comfortable writing fiction and lets her heroine run free. I hope we get to meet Dolly again.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

    In How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran has created one of the funniest, most genuine and vivid characters I've read in a long time. Johanna Morrigan is witty, insecure and delightfully crass. And her story—that of a day-dreaming young girl growing up poor in 1990's Wolverhamption (which I can only assume equates to the British suburbs) who aspires to music journalism fame by reinventing herself as 'Dolly Wilde' after a disaster on live TV—is charming and incredibly relatable. Johanna goes through In How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran has created one of the funniest, most genuine and vivid characters I've read in a long time. Johanna Morrigan is witty, insecure and delightfully crass. And her story—that of a day-dreaming young girl growing up poor in 1990's Wolverhamption (which I can only assume equates to the British suburbs) who aspires to music journalism fame by reinventing herself as 'Dolly Wilde' after a disaster on live TV—is charming and incredibly relatable. Johanna goes through the things nearly every young adult experiences: first loves, feeling left out, identity crises, and dreaming about adulthood. But her story is a lot more crude [I mean lots of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll here] and a lot funnier than most. If only we could all look back on our teen years with this sense of humor. I do think that's one point Moran is trying to get at with this novel; that everything seems worse in the moment, and if/when you take a step back, especially once you're older & wiser, you'll be able to see things as they really were—a.k.a. not that bad. But the journey we go on in this story, at Johanna's expense, is riotously wacky and highly enjoyable. And I'm super thrilled this is just the first in a series! I'm wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars for this one, so I bumped it up to the latter because it's just so fun & easy to read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ben Babcock

    Second reading: December 15 to 16, 2016 This was the (viewer-selected!) December book for the Banging Book Club. I read this over two years ago (God, where does the time go?) but decided to re-read it. I do not regret this decision. It’s even better than I remember. I’m actually pretty happy with my review below, and it is long, so I won’t add much. But as much as this book is about sex (hence its pick for the club), it is also about growing up, about being poor, about being a woman, about finding Second reading: December 15 to 16, 2016 This was the (viewer-selected!) December book for the Banging Book Club. I read this over two years ago (God, where does the time go?) but decided to re-read it. I do not regret this decision. It’s even better than I remember. I’m actually pretty happy with my review below, and it is long, so I won’t add much. But as much as this book is about sex (hence its pick for the club), it is also about growing up, about being poor, about being a woman, about finding one’s identity as a person. And it is about getting permission from oneself to make mistakes, to not be perfect, to accept that you will go through life rebuilding yourself time and again. How to Build a Girl is funny and compassionate and so smart and is exactly what we should look for in our YA, in our books in general. Read on to find out why. I still want to quote, like, the entirety of this book. First reading: August 3 to 7, 2014 I’m not and never was an adolescent girl; I can’t understand what growing up as an adolescent girl must be like. But for a brief moment, thanks to Caitlin Moran’s writing, I felt like an adolescent girl. Beyond the humour and zaniness, it’s this raw empathy, such a powerful and important emotion, that made me enjoy How to Build a Girl. Because we could all do well to feel like an adolescent girl once in a while. We inhabit a society that is still largely built by and for middle-aged white men. It’s tough being an adolescent, tougher still being an adolescent girl. But for those of whose who didn’t grow up as one, it is very difficult to do more than acknowledge this (and some of us don’t even go that far). It’s one thing to say that impossible beauty standards in media damage teenage girls’ self-esteem and body image and another thing to understand what that actually means for how a girl thinks and feels and acts. There are plenty of books and other resources that help people recognize the former; here, Moran manages, at least sometimes, to communicate the latter. With regards to beauty, Moran has Johanna confess: … my biggest secret of all—the one I would rather die than tell, the one I wouldn’t even put in my diary—is that I really, truly, in my heart, want to be beautiful. I want to be beautiful so much—because it will keep me safe, and keep me lucky, and it’s too exhausting not to be. It’s important to note that, being a first person narrator, Johanna is necessarily unreliable—and there are times when her constant rephrasing and hedging indicates she isn’t so willing to be honest with herself. This isn’t one of those times, though. This is brutal honesty, the divulging of a deadly secret. Johanna has already had fourteen years on this Earth to internalize the stricture that her appearance is her primary concern. (Just think about how we are socialized to compliment young girls on their pretty dresses or their hair, to comment on their colour choices and aesthetic preferences; with boys, on the other hand, we commend them more on actions than fashions.) She has, alas, incontrovertibly become part of that beauty myth … but at the same time, there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be “beautiful” (whatever that means). It’s possible to be strong, independent, feminist and be beautiful. But there will always be people who will tell Johanna and other women that this is not the case, that these two things are mutually exclusive: you can be a feminist and ugly, or beautiful and a good girl, but you can’t be a beautiful feminist. They are lying, or sadly mistaken, but that makes their voices no softer or easier to ignore. Moran equips Johanna with an almost unbelievable talent for acting more grown up than she is. At fifteen she has bluffed her way into a job at the Disc & Music Echo. In the guise of her alter ego, Dolly Wilde, she becomes a carefree drinker, smoker, and Lady Sex Adventurer. At times, the story takes on an almost fairytale quality, because bad things happen, but they are always story-appropriate bad things. There are no massive heroin overdoses, arrests and nights spent in jail. In all her enthusiastic sexual experimentation, despite ending up alone in the flats of several (often drunk) men who could take advantage of her should she change her mind and withdraw her consent, Johanna never seems to have a very negative experience. When she does, as in the case of Al, Moran plays it for laughs. Sometimes How to Build a Girl feels like a sugarcoated story of adolescent rebellion. Moran partially redeems herself by occasionally reminding us that Johanna is, at her core, still a gawky adolescent. She makes numerous errors and slip-ups that remind us of her inexperience: And within twenty minutes—and then, for the next twenty years of my life—I knew a very important thing: that all I wanted to do was be near John Kite. That things would now divide, very simply, into two categories: things to do with John Kite, and things not to do with John Kite. And that I would abandon anything in the latter in a heartbeat if the chance of the former was on offer. Boom. Fallen hard. As Dolly, she quickly gains the respect of her fellow staff for her reviews. Then she meets John Kite, and her teenage girlhood reasserts itself in a big way in the form of a crush. She writes a fangirl review of Kite’s album, and that tanks her reputation for a while. It’s also hard for me to be critical when Moran describes so well the sensation of being poor. Again, I’ve been lucky enough to live above the poverty line my entire life. It’s useful for us to try to understand, then, that when one loses income—whether it’s a job or benefits—for some families the solution is not as simple as “cutting back.” Extreme poverty brings its own set of challenges, such as not being able to make healthy meals: It’s not just the television. Everything must be cut. There are no more boxes of fruit and vegetables from the wholesale market now. Dadda buys a 50kg sack of wholemeal flour, and at least one meal a day now consists of chapattis—flour, water and salt mixed into a dough, flattened into plate-sized rounds, by hand, girlled, and then covered in margarine. This is not good for you. This is not healthy. And since this is in England, the cost of healthcare is a burden to the taxpayers. In the United States, the cost of healthcare would drive the family further into debt, in a vicious cycle. Moran goes on to describe the sense of living hand-to-mouth: We become experts at finding sell-by-date bargains…. We live on ketchup and salad cream. Without them, there would truly be a riot. The sum contents of our morale comes in 1kg own-brand condiment bottles. A gas bill lands, then an electric bill. Mum arranges a second overdraft, to pay them: so now we’re going backwards, twice as fast. It’s heartwrenching, and it’s a potent challenge to people who succumb to the notion that the majority of those on welfare are somehow gaming the system and living luxuriously on the taxpayer’s dime. So it’s no wonder, given this situation, that Johanna chooses to handle it in the way she does. She creates an entire alternative life for herself. When she is being Dolly, Slayer of Musicians, Lady Sex Adventuress Extraordinaire, she does not have to face that gnawing fear that her family is going to lose the house—and that it’s her fault. Gradually Johanna gives herself over to this life, allows the character of Dolly to subsume her own. She constructs Dolly as a life preserver, building a girl (hence the title) who can be successful in the society that she perceives. How to Build a Girl also addresses the related problem, both in its very existence and explicitly in the plot, that there is a dearth of narratives built for girls. Even much of the popular YA fiction targeted at girls, by women authors, tends to reinforce or is co-opted by the patriarchical narratives of our day. In a passage where it feels like Moran is blatantly talking to the audience through Johanna: In later years, I find this is called ‘physical disconnect’, and is all part and parcel of women having their sexuality mediated through men’s gaze. There is very little female narrative of what it’s like to fuck, and be fucked. I will realise that, as a seventeen-year-old girl, I couldn’t really hear my own voice during this sex. I had no idea what my voice was at all. Yeah, the language is couched as coming from the narrator-Johanna’s older perspective, but it still feels out of place in the book. Nevertheless, it’s still true and so maddening. We’ve made great strides when it comes to acknowledging, embracing, and portraying sexuality in media … but it’s still complicated, this portrayal of women as sexual beings. It’s all wrapped up in thorny issues of autonomy and agency and voice. And Moran explores these from a teenager’s perspective. Dolly is quite sexually active, and she is eager to learn as much about sex as she possibly can: I feel, urgently, that I want to be knowledgeable about fucking. It’s an attribute I wish to have. I want to be respected and admired for what a legendary piece of ass I am … but the only way of doing that is by going out and having a lot of sex. And that has repercussions. For in a way that feels quite unfair, the only way I can gain any qualifications at this thing—sex—that is seen as so societally important and desirable, is by being a massive slag—which is not seen as societally important and desirable. This often makes me furious. I just love these two paragraphs. Moran so succinctly sums up one of the most harmful paradoxes about modern sex education and the way we police women’s sexuality. First, notice how she exclusively frames her sexual experience in terms of the male gaze: “a legendary piece of ass”. She doesn’t necessarily want to become more knowledgeable about sex for her own benefit but so that she can be better-regarded—straight women will want to be her, straight men will want to fuck her. Second, Johanna, through Dolly’s exploration, is quite sex-positive. But she has quickly stumbled onto the sexual double-standard: (1) straight men generally want women to sleep with them, and (2) it’s OK for a man to sleep with lots of women, but (3) if a woman sleeps with a lot of men, somehow that’s bad (even though, in her interactions with other men, there is always a latent expectation that if she is single she must also be sexually available, see (1)). I’m not a woman, and I find this all baffling and infuriating, so I can only imagine how the women who actually have to deal with this shit must feel. Some otherwise-civilized countries (*cough* America *cough*) are still debating about teaching contraception in sexual education classes. Countries like Canada and the UK have, for the most part, moved beyond this stumbling block, but our sex ed. curriculum is still woefully inadequate to the point of being laughable. Occasionally someone will propose, quietly and calmly, that we reform the curriculum so as to create a safe environment in which young people could, you know, ask questions about sex and get accurate, straightforward answers without a whole lot of moralizing or even intentionally inaccurate information. And then others flip out, because it’s unthinkable that young people could possibly be having sex, and we totally shouldn’t give them that kind of information, because we have to think of the children, don’t you know? (I assume they are referring to the children who are the result of unwanted teenage pregnancy because of improper contraception use?) Because, as a society, we have mistaken the fact that our attitudes towards sex are more permissive than Victorian times as evidence of our own maturity, when in fact when it comes to sex, we are still a bunch of squabbling infants. And so our sex ed. in schools remains a rubber-stamp of anatomical details forgotten the moment students leave the classroom, and teens learn what they need to know from the Internet and each other. But I digress. I digress because that’s the kind of book How to Build a Girl is: it makes you think about all these latent assumptions we have about our society. For me, a slightly-no-longer-young-adult man, it helps me better empathize with the challenges that women face as they navigate adolescence into adulthood. Moran does this with a kind of zany, occasionally insincere sort of whimsical glee that threatens to make you not want to take the book seriously. But I think this is because, ultimately, she wants the book to be a very positive and not all that harrowing story. This isn’t the story of Johanna Morrigan, who came from a council estate, fell in with hard people, did drugs and got drunk and had sex and got really fucked up. It’s the story of Johanna Morrigan, teenage girl, who came from a council estate, built herself into someone else, and realized along the way that she needed to start over—to keep some aspects of her new self, and jettison others. That is, essentially, the experience we all go through during adolescence, whether we are as aware of it as Johanna or not. Some of us, though, owing to our economic background, our race, our sexual and gender identities, have an easier time of it than others. And I’m really glad that Moran has tried to produce such a thoughtful and authentic narrative for girls. It’s not perfect. But it is a worthy attempt, and it is notable, and I hope we see more like it. Because I would really rather live in a society where our stories tell girls and women that they are awesome people, that they can grow up and continue to be awesome people. How cool a world would that be? Let’s make it happen.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mish

    How to Build a Girl is a story of a teenage girl, Johanna Morrigan, who lives with her family in an over crowed home of 7 in a community estate, Wolverhampton England in the 1990’s. Johanna lives on hand-me-downs, she is badly dressed, over weight and tends to talk too much and is not happy how her teenage life is working out. After she humiliated herself on national TV, Johanna decided to re-invent herself to Dolly Wilde; outspoken, free spirited gothic babe and a pop-music review critic to be How to Build a Girl is a story of a teenage girl, Johanna Morrigan, who lives with her family in an over crowed home of 7 in a community estate, Wolverhampton England in the 1990’s. Johanna lives on hand-me-downs, she is badly dressed, over weight and tends to talk too much and is not happy how her teenage life is working out. After she humiliated herself on national TV, Johanna decided to re-invent herself to Dolly Wilde; outspoken, free spirited gothic babe and a pop-music review critic to be reckoned with. She lands a job with a magazine where she’s plunged into the adult world of sex, drugs, hard liquor and grunge rock. I have not heard of Caitlin Moran before reading this novel, nor did I bother to look her up or read any reviews. I only had the blurbs to go by. I expected to come out of it with a few laughs and perhaps some thought provoking moments of a typical nerdy, teenage girl, who transforms her image and personality to fit in and make her mark. The concept looked really good but unfortunately the delivery and writing was not. For most part, Johanna, the protagonist, didn’t shine through. She was overshadowed by some strong personalities, such as her father, Tony Rich - close friend and lead singer of a band she interviewed for work, and her brother Krissi. Their behaviour and quirky dialogue made them all the more interesting than Johanna and her personality stayed the same. The only noticeable difference was her exterior – the gothic makeup and clothing - but nothing else. The plot wasn’t moving; it felt stagnant and tedious to read. It was only until the last ¼ when the ‘Lady Sex Adventurer’ emerged that it woke me from a slumber. However in a surprisingly unpleasant way! There was a considerable amount of sex scene in the latter parts, which I was kind of expecting. Being a fan of erotica, sex scenes don’t particularly bother me, but I am particular by how it’s carried out. Moran goes into specific detail. Her choice of words, manner and excessive bad language to describe these scenes was told in bad taste and in vulgar way - and honestly, it was totally unnecessary and a childish delivery. I didn’t find it humorous, as it was meant to be, but found she was rather gloating and/or educating me on how much she knows and have done. Since finishing this book, I have heard that ‘How to be a Woman’ was a great hit with many reader friends. I can’t tell you if it’s only this book, or if it’s her tone or outlook in general I disliked. But all I can say from this experience alone, it has made me cringe to think of reading anything else by Moran.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I want to hug this book and carry it around with me forever like a security blanket.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    Aaaa! It's been over a week since I finished this one, and I'm still wavering - three or four stars? On the one hand, Caitlin Moran is kind of my sister from another mister. How can I even consider giving her anything less than four stars? Well, it's just that this book is pretty much a young adult, fictionalized version of How to Be a Woman. Here we have 14-year-old Johanna Morrigan, growing up with many siblings in a cramped household in a working class neighborhood; a girl who dreams big, gets Aaaa! It's been over a week since I finished this one, and I'm still wavering - three or four stars? On the one hand, Caitlin Moran is kind of my sister from another mister. How can I even consider giving her anything less than four stars? Well, it's just that this book is pretty much a young adult, fictionalized version of How to Be a Woman. Here we have 14-year-old Johanna Morrigan, growing up with many siblings in a cramped household in a working class neighborhood; a girl who dreams big, gets a job as rock critic, and is insanely curious about sex . . . just like the young Caitlin, who was described in the first few chapters of Moran's earlier book. Yeah, yeah - write what you know. I get it. Anyway, Johanna's self esteem cannot possibly get any lower, so she invents Dolly Wilde, a bolder, more gothy, devil-may-care version of herself. Dressed in black, fag in her mouth, and slightly tipsy, she sets out to conquer the world. I've not read enough young adult novels to know how Johanna/Dolly stacks up against other YA heroines. I suspect you'd have a hard time finding one as profane and hard-living as Moran's character. In other words - no role models here, unless you're looking for a teen who can give you advice on what to do when you get cystitis after having sex with a man who has an extremely large appendage. Uh, huh. But then again . . . There is so much good advice for young women in this book. Consider this bit from a from a girl who's done it all almost all; a girl who's been there, and done it decided not to do it: I feel excitingly . . . free. Things were going to happen to me last night that I did not like -- and I stopped them. I have never prevented my own doom before. I have never stood in the path of certain unhappiness and told myself -- lovingly, like a mother to myself -- "No! This unhappiness will not suit you! Turn around and go the other way!" Take that one to heart - even though you lack confidence, and fully believe that no one will ever love you . . . you CAN say NO. Anyway, lecture over. So, four stars - right? I mean, I really loved the first third of the book, when Johanna is spending a lot of time at home with her family. It reminded me a bit of before they got rid of all my favorite characters. Jo's relationships with her parents and brothers are quite believable and touching. It was when she fully morphed into Dolly, and the book became all about rock bands and men, that my interest cooled. I don't know, it could be just me. For the right girl, at the right time - this book could mean the world, or maybe even the difference between life and death. So what do you do when you build yourself -- only to realize you built yourself with the wrong things? You rip it up and start again. That is the work of your teenage years -- to build up and tear down and build up again, over and over endlessly, like speeded up film of cities during boom times and wars. To be fearless, and endless in your reinventions -- to keep twisting on nineteen, going bust, and dealing in again, and again. Invent, invent, invent. Argh! Three and a half for this one, Caitlin, dear. I'll buy you a pint sometime to make it up to you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Warwick

    Anyway. Yadda yadda yadda. The bottom line is, I wank a lot thinking about medieval demons. I have given up trying to understand people who don't like Caitlin Moran as much as I do; now I just put my head on one side and look at them with a little frown, wondering where things went wrong. I picked this one off a friend's bookshelf during a social occasion and started browsing the opening idly, but I was soon laughing so uncontrollably that the whole evening devolved into me just reading bits out Anyway. Yadda yadda yadda. The bottom line is, I wank a lot thinking about medieval demons. I have given up trying to understand people who don't like Caitlin Moran as much as I do; now I just put my head on one side and look at them with a little frown, wondering where things went wrong. I picked this one off a friend's bookshelf during a social occasion and started browsing the opening idly, but I was soon laughing so uncontrollably that the whole evening devolved into me just reading bits out while I cried with laughter. Though this time it's fiction, the material is the usual Caitlin Moran schtick of 90s scenery, indie music, working-class Wolverhampton childhoods, exuberant self-abuse, and beautiful sentences that are studded with jokes like depth charges. A lot of the best lines are reserved for the lugubriously drunken musician John Kite, who comes over like a cross between Momus and Rhys Ifans out of Notting Hill (‘Broadly speaking, I never met a tree I didn't like – save the lime, which is an irredeemable cunt’) and I spent a lot of time during these sections trying to work out who he was based on. It was weird reading this at the same time as Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend, another novel about an intelligent working-class girl growing up and trying to find her identity. If I had the energy I would now write a longish dissertation about how the comic mode allows Moran to be much more progressive and radical in her presentation of women than Ferrante's demure reflections on catty frenemies and desirable shoes. That perspective is, no doubt, quite useful, but I know which book I'd rather be pressing on my own daughter when she's a bit older, and it's fucking this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ferdy

    3.5 stars - Spoilers Entertaining in a vulgar, rude and very British way. -There was a lot to love in this and a fair amount to dislike too (such as the repetitiveness and at times spineless heroine). For the most part I thoroughly enjoyed Johanna's adventures and musings but on occasion she really frustrated me. She was funny and easy to root for, especially when she was around her family and trying to make it as a music journalist by faking a whole persona. But there was also a number of times 3.5 stars - Spoilers Entertaining in a vulgar, rude and very British way. -There was a lot to love in this and a fair amount to dislike too (such as the repetitiveness and at times spineless heroine). For the most part I thoroughly enjoyed Johanna's adventures and musings but on occasion she really frustrated me. She was funny and easy to root for, especially when she was around her family and trying to make it as a music journalist by faking a whole persona. But there was also a number of times where she was super cringey and naive, which was endearing and embarrassing all at once. Also, I found it a little odd that she wasn't more tougher and street smart considering her background and family. She did step up and stand up for herself at the very end though, but I would have liked her to get a backbone a little earlier on in the story (like when all those guys she was seeing were pushing her around). She really needed to tell them to piss off and/or demand they do the things she wanted. -Johanna's repetitiveness was quite irritating as well. The first 50 times she talked about masturbation was more than enough to drive home the fact that she was horny, it was funny at first but it kind of got boring after a while. -Johanna and John Kite were great together, their friendship was sweet in a lads bantery kind of way. -Loved the nineties setting. The many pop culture references and general atmosphere made for rather nostalgic reading. -Johanna's interactions and relationships with her family was the most enjoyable aspect, especially her and Krissi, they were hilarious. -Loved how Johanna went on an epic shag quest and wanted to fuck around and experiment and become a 'Lady Sex Adventurer'. It made a nice change to read a more realistic teenage girl in fiction instead of the usual ones who tend to be more or less set up in an arranged marriage by the first ten pages of a YA book. In all: this was mostly hilarious, brilliant and nostalgic but at times it was rather cringey and tedious. Recommended for anyone who'd enjoy a vulgar British coming-of-age story with a horny-embarrassing-very-flawed teenage girl as a protagonist.

  10. 5 out of 5

    María Ángeles

    Sin lugar a dudas, es un libro muy transgresor. Johana es una adolescente de 14 años que empieza a contarnos su mundo. No tiene pelos en la lengua, y lo cuenta absolutamente todo. Desde las borracheras de su padre, sus problemas existenciales, o cómo se entretiene cada noche con su desodorante. Hay momentos totalmente magníficos, de arrancarte una carcajada y no parar de reír. De volver a pensarlo y volver a reír... Simplemente, geniales. Hay otra cosa que me ha encantado, y es cómo Johana cree q Sin lugar a dudas, es un libro muy transgresor. Johana es una adolescente de 14 años que empieza a contarnos su mundo. No tiene pelos en la lengua, y lo cuenta absolutamente todo. Desde las borracheras de su padre, sus problemas existenciales, o cómo se entretiene cada noche con su desodorante. Hay momentos totalmente magníficos, de arrancarte una carcajada y no parar de reír. De volver a pensarlo y volver a reír... Simplemente, geniales. Hay otra cosa que me ha encantado, y es cómo Johana cree que ha cometido un error y entonces piensa que el mundo se va a acabar, que su familia se va a desintegrar y que ella tiene la culpa de todo. ¿No tuvisteis alguna sensación similar en vuestra adolescencia? Yo sí, y me ha encantado leerlo y saber que no he sido la única. Me encanta el amor que tiene por todos los de su familia, a pesar de sus numerosos defectos. Me encanta su relación con Lupin y con Krissi. Preciosa. Y a pesar de no tener una familia perfecta, adoro como todos cuidan de ella. Un fallo: las numerosas referencias musicales, de cine, de libros, de series. Está claro que deben existir, pero son tantísimas que necesitaría una "tesis" para conocerlas todas. Aunque Johana nos cuenta su vida a través de sucesos, anécdotas (muchas de ellas sexuales) y fracasos, Johana realmente nos está hablando de cómo aprendió, con ensayo-error, a ser una mejor persona. Reseña en BLOG: http://unablogueraeventual.com/como-s...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Churchill

    Absolutely adored it. Hilarious and dark, 'shocking' and honest. Lots of sexual content, strong language and a scene with self harm. So, you know, you've been warned.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Jx PinkLady Reviews ♥

    Review later, maybe

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

    This novel started out as a 'sauna' read --(a side book). I got hooked -- "How To Build a Girl" became 'THE' book I was reading. After humiliating herself on local television, 14 year old Johanna transforms herself into Dolly Wilde, a cooler-than-cool music reviewer who's big into sex, drugs, and rock and roll. All is well until Johanna starts to loose herself in her alter ego, at which point she questions where she ends and Dolly begins. This is a laugh outloud roller coaster ride through the bes This novel started out as a 'sauna' read --(a side book). I got hooked -- "How To Build a Girl" became 'THE' book I was reading. After humiliating herself on local television, 14 year old Johanna transforms herself into Dolly Wilde, a cooler-than-cool music reviewer who's big into sex, drugs, and rock and roll. All is well until Johanna starts to loose herself in her alter ego, at which point she questions where she ends and Dolly begins. This is a laugh outloud roller coaster ride through the best and worst parts about being completely embarrassed of your teenage self. Note: I liked this book...yet I would not have liked my 14 year old daughter to read it. My own '14' year old life was nothing like this girls --I was a little square!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dor

    [My copy of this book was an uncorrected proof, provided to me gratis by the publisher, HarperColins, facilitated in this act of goodness by Edelweiss. I think this makes me a pawn of Murdoch now.] From the outside, Caitlin Moran can look a bit like a one-trick pony. Although she's been a journalist and Times columnist for many years, she had massive success a couple of years ago with her memoir/feminist treatise How To Be A Woman which contained many amusing tales about her poor Wolverhampton ch [My copy of this book was an uncorrected proof, provided to me gratis by the publisher, HarperColins, facilitated in this act of goodness by Edelweiss. I think this makes me a pawn of Murdoch now.] From the outside, Caitlin Moran can look a bit like a one-trick pony. Although she's been a journalist and Times columnist for many years, she had massive success a couple of years ago with her memoir/feminist treatise How To Be A Woman which contained many amusing tales about her poor Wolverhampton childhood. She, with her sister, has written a sitcom, Raised By Wolves, about a teenager growing up in poor Wolverhampton. Now there's this. Despite the authorial introduction in which we are assured How To Build A Girl is not based on truth, one could be forgiven for fearing, as I did, a thinly fictionalised re-tread of the stuff which made Moran a household name. It isn't. Far from it. Although there are clear parallels - and some commercially cynical titling and structure going on - it all read new to me. Opening in 1990, 14-year-old Johanna Morrigan lives in Wolverhampton. She wonders when she's going to get to finally have sex. She spends much time wanking. The book is hilariously instructional on this point if initially a little ... uncomfortable. The opening scene is of Johanna doing what she enjoys while her 6-year-old brother is asleep next to her. That it manages to get away with this is entirely due to Moran's cheerfully honest narrator, and later, to the other characters. The book follows Johanna from awkward 14-year-old to 16-year-old music reviewer "Dolly Wilde" to vaguely "built" girl of 18. It is that rare thing, a female narrative untempered by usual sub-plots which so often tacitly reinforce the idea that to be female is not enough on its own. The prose even points it out: there is very little female narrative of what it's like to fuck and be fucked. This is a coming-of-age story. It is about Johanna figuring out who she is. It's not about the mistakes she makes while she does it, and it's not about them *being* mistakes, and it doesn't shame her for anything she does. It just ... is. Johanna is going to make or break this novel for the reader: she's frank and honest, she doesn't know what she's doing and she's not what she wants to be but she's going to try. She is all feigned confidence and internal doubt, but ultimately just a person who is doing what people do, in a top hat. I loved her utterly and not just for the word "swashfuckler". There is a section near the end about cynicism, about what it does, and it brought me to tears (and I am not generally a weeper) because it's so utterly true and it made me swear to be a better person for the rest of my days. In an earlier draft of this review, I went on to say the feeling wore off after an hour or two, thank god, but I've read the bit I'm talking about several times and it made me weep again. I'm weeping now. I went away, ate muesli, came back and started up again within seconds. [...] it is a million times easier to be cynical and wield a sword, than it is to be open-hearted and stand there, holding a balloon and a birthday cake, with the infinite potential to look foolish. I don't have it in me to stand with balloons. Sometimes I try; invariably nothing happens but it's that nothing which destroys me. I once killed every conversation on a table of 12 people by being enthusiastic about Marina Lewycka's A Short History Of Tractors In The Ukraine, so I went back to what I learned to do at school: not show enthusiasm about things. I play down my love of everything, or I turn it into joke: the crazy cat lady, the foreigner, the girl who waits for somebody else to do maths. I play down the things I am good at because being it's easy to deal with that nothing if nothing is what I've given. But I want balloons. I want to have balloons and be proud of them and when that nothing happens, I want it to not matter because balloons. And this is why I love this book and why you need to read it. Moran's finger is so on the money in so many respects. I don't think there's a person alive who doesn't feel like a fraud at some point, and How To Build A Girl is about a character who is pushing against that as she tries to ... build who she is. Good books are about tension and this one considers the place where enthusiasm and ego meet. It is brilliant, and hilarious, and at times like reading something you knew but have forgotten; we've all been there. It misses out on 5 stars very narrowly - it lacks an overall cohesion. With something like Catcher In The Rye, there is a reason for the particular section of story we are told - HTBAG, while thoroughly entertaining lacks that and, as a consequence, sputters to an ending rather than giving that satisfying over-ness. There are some other minor nitpicks, a couple of things which - again - lack that wholeness and which dangle annoyingly. My uncorrected proof had some modern slang terms in it which I hope were removed. It's also worth briefly touching upon the Twitterstorm of #CaitlinMoranShouldRead. That was a nonsense; this is not YA. This is coming-of-age. It's looking back from the vantage point of adulthood. It has far more in common with Moran's invoked Jilly Cooper than any YA I've ever read (but I'm not a big YA reader). By all means give it to your 14-year-old, but the prime audience are more likely to be me: 30-somethings who know who The Smashing Pumpkins are. How To Build a Girl is a first-rate read which I thoroughly recommend - it's sweary and graphic and surprisingly educational. Even before the bits which had me weeping over my Kindle it was pretty fabulous, and those bits by no means made the book for me. If we're going to complain about Moran's equine fidelity, we can make sure to note she perfecting it with every offering: 4.5 stars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lynx

    I LOVED this book. It was as if Caitlin Moran had read my teenage diary and wrote it all out for me. Her writing perfectly captured that of a teen and managed to transport me back into my 14 year old self, insecure but eager to tackle the world, believing I knew it all when I really knew nothing and reminding me of all the mistakes I made along the road to discovering myself. Reading this was like therapy, realizing all those mistakes in life weren't made for nothing but were essential in me "bu I LOVED this book. It was as if Caitlin Moran had read my teenage diary and wrote it all out for me. Her writing perfectly captured that of a teen and managed to transport me back into my 14 year old self, insecure but eager to tackle the world, believing I knew it all when I really knew nothing and reminding me of all the mistakes I made along the road to discovering myself. Reading this was like therapy, realizing all those mistakes in life weren't made for nothing but were essential in me "building" the woman I've become today. Moran manages to cover many issues (growing up in poverty, body/self esteem issues, addiction, depression..) without the novel ever feeling heavy and her sharp wit keeps you smiling, or flat out laughing through situations that could by any other pen read as heartbreaking making, for me, this "therapy" thoroughly enjoyable. It's an amazing experience to connect heart and soul with a piece of literature. I only wish I could have read it a decade earlier!

  16. 5 out of 5

    eb

    The bits about masturbation and sex are funny, and there are some true, helpful, and new insights into what it's like to be a teenage girl, but this book is a complete mess. The narrator's voice shifts all over the place, without warning, and seemingly by accident--sometimes she's a teenager, sometimes she's an adult looking back on her teenage years. We're told that the protagonist is awkward and insecure, but she talks like a witty 40-something writer dashing off one-liners in her office. Ther The bits about masturbation and sex are funny, and there are some true, helpful, and new insights into what it's like to be a teenage girl, but this book is a complete mess. The narrator's voice shifts all over the place, without warning, and seemingly by accident--sometimes she's a teenager, sometimes she's an adult looking back on her teenage years. We're told that the protagonist is awkward and insecure, but she talks like a witty 40-something writer dashing off one-liners in her office. There's a ton of repetition within paragraphs. Many sentences are repeated almost verbatim. Entire sections consist of inspirational slogans perfect for Tumblr. And occasionally the story grinds to a halt and we're taken through an essay--good essays, interesting essays, but essays that have nothing to do with fiction.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lotte

    This was such a funny and gritty coming-of-age story about a girl who decides to reinvent herself, takes on another persona and starts working at a music magazine when she's just fifteen. I didn't get half of the references to the music scene of 1990s England, but that didn't really bother me and overall I really enjoyed the process of reading this. (Beware though, there's lots and lots of sexual content in this book, so maybe don't pick it up if you're very young or just don't like reading abou This was such a funny and gritty coming-of-age story about a girl who decides to reinvent herself, takes on another persona and starts working at a music magazine when she's just fifteen. I didn't get half of the references to the music scene of 1990s England, but that didn't really bother me and overall I really enjoyed the process of reading this. (Beware though, there's lots and lots of sexual content in this book, so maybe don't pick it up if you're very young or just don't like reading about stuff like that.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I feel like the world's biggest asshole sometimes. I so badly want to love everthing that Caitlin Moran does, but her stuff never seems to click with me. This is a novel that feel very autobiographical, about a fourteen-year-old girl whose family struggles to make ends meet in Wolverhampton, England. Johanna's chubby, awkward, and socially clueless. After embarrassing herself on local television, Johanna decides to re-invent herself. She becomes a music critic for a London magazine under the pse I feel like the world's biggest asshole sometimes. I so badly want to love everthing that Caitlin Moran does, but her stuff never seems to click with me. This is a novel that feel very autobiographical, about a fourteen-year-old girl whose family struggles to make ends meet in Wolverhampton, England. Johanna's chubby, awkward, and socially clueless. After embarrassing herself on local television, Johanna decides to re-invent herself. She becomes a music critic for a London magazine under the pseudonym Dolly Wilde and before you know it, she's a sixteen-year-old hard-drinking, promiscuous young woman whose opinions people listen to. This book is funny and full of wry, wistful insight on female adolescence, but I just couldn't lose myself in it. I think Moran is an intelligent, thoughtful writer with a voice that can do a lot for women in the 21st century. I just...can't really relate to her POV as much as I feel like she expects me to. I'd give it four-stars for the writing and three for my personal level of enjoyment.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Peto

    During the first 50 pages or so, I developed buyer's remorse. Not a painful, howl at the moon remorse, but a vibe. The story had its moments, including some excellent observations, an often interesting, amusing, vulnerable fourteen year old narrator who was growing on me, but some of the events, the way it rolled out, had bursts of tedium and I suspected they might grow and get worse. They did, in a way, near the very end, but for me, maybe because I've never read anything else by Caitlin Moran During the first 50 pages or so, I developed buyer's remorse. Not a painful, howl at the moon remorse, but a vibe. The story had its moments, including some excellent observations, an often interesting, amusing, vulnerable fourteen year old narrator who was growing on me, but some of the events, the way it rolled out, had bursts of tedium and I suspected they might grow and get worse. They did, in a way, near the very end, but for me, maybe because I've never read anything else by Caitlin Moran and I am a guy, this novel was mainly successful, mostly enjoyable, and somewhat fascinating as a case study of mixed-up, teenage girls transitioning to our mixed-up adult world. The narrator, Johanna Morrigan, is a cheerful, fat girl without friends. It is around 1990. I loved her cheerfulness. And her persistence. After hitting rock bottom, she decides quite consciously to remake herself, and luckily that does not mean dieting, which is never considered - this story is just not about that, not explicitly. There are very many hilarious scenes, observations, situations. When she is rejected by the local goths - one of whom is her cousin - she walks across the street to a record store to bone up on the current music scene. Before long, she's writing for a national music magazine. That's believably portrayed because it is apparently a detail pulled from the author's life story, except she accomplished it even younger. I think the author did some things amazingly well. Johanna's background is working class, which makes things more difficult, like buying the music she reads about in music magazines at the library- she has to borrow records from the library, order and wait weeks for them. We see her firmly entrenched in the world of her family while she simultaneously pulls herself out and away, by making herself anew, so consciously she breaks it down for you. Some reviewers faulted the voice for shifting haphazardly between Johanna at the time of the story and a Johanna looking back, but I disagree with the disappointment. When I sensed a Johanna looking back, it was a Johanna who reframed from judging herself too harshly, especially during the last third when Johanna, or Dolly as she'd renamed herself, was making mistakes that made me cringe (and laugh and worry...). There is a lot of sex and rough patches, though Johanna remains cheerful and witty, most of the time. In fact, even the first paragraphs are uncomfortably blunt. Despite that, I can't imagine disliking Johanna/Dolly. Her determination and her ultimate conclusion or realization about what is important to her is, I think, what makes this a great feminist novel. Would I recommend this to teenage girls? Maybe not if I was in some official capacity, such as a librarian, it is so foul at times - I am sure some people would object that any good could come from reading it. Would I recommend it to my daughter when she is a teenager? Probably, (if she asks about it?) but I hope she would already have enough sense/knowledge/wisdom not to emulate Johanna's path in its particulars. Many, many women, I presume, do not entirely empathize with Johanna and her creator at all, isn't that right guys?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    I acknowledge that this novel is not perfectly written--as other reviewers have noted, the POV switches from teenage Johanna to older Johanna looking back were sometimes jarring. But I don't care. I thought this book was hilarious and so entertaining. It was also great to read about a teenage girl who really didn't have it all together, but was smart and eventually able to succeed on her own terms. This isn't a YA book, but I wish I had had it when I was a kid and was spending my time reading th I acknowledge that this novel is not perfectly written--as other reviewers have noted, the POV switches from teenage Johanna to older Johanna looking back were sometimes jarring. But I don't care. I thought this book was hilarious and so entertaining. It was also great to read about a teenage girl who really didn't have it all together, but was smart and eventually able to succeed on her own terms. This isn't a YA book, but I wish I had had it when I was a kid and was spending my time reading the Sweet Valley High series and wondering why my life wasn't like that. Of course, it's a bit difficult to recommend this book for kids, what with all the sex and booze, but don't kids always buy racy books and hide them from their parents? This is the one they should be buying and hiding.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Al

    Directo a mi lista de libros favoritos. Johanna/Dolly se va a quedar mucho tiempo conmigo. ¡Y qué maravilla es leer a Caitlin Moran!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leseparatist

    Próbowałam tę książkę kupić chyba ze trzy razy: najpierw, jak wyszła, to chodziłam i się zastanawiałam, ale ostatecznie uznałam, że wolałabym upolować po angielsku, więc dałam sobie spokój. Potem wymyśliłam, że kupię w prezencie i pożyczę od obdarowanej (sprytne!), zamówiłam do księgarni i ktoś kupił przez pomyłkę mój egzemplarz. Potem nigdzie jej nie widziałam, więc trudno, prezent był inny, a ja cały czas pamiętałam, że chcę tę Moran przeczytać, ale jakoś się z zakupem nie składało. Więc kiedy Próbowałam tę książkę kupić chyba ze trzy razy: najpierw, jak wyszła, to chodziłam i się zastanawiałam, ale ostatecznie uznałam, że wolałabym upolować po angielsku, więc dałam sobie spokój. Potem wymyśliłam, że kupię w prezencie i pożyczę od obdarowanej (sprytne!), zamówiłam do księgarni i ktoś kupił przez pomyłkę mój egzemplarz. Potem nigdzie jej nie widziałam, więc trudno, prezent był inny, a ja cały czas pamiętałam, że chcę tę Moran przeczytać, ale jakoś się z zakupem nie składało. Więc kiedy wypatrzyłam egzemplarz za pół darmo na Gdyńskim Plenerze Czytelniczym, z triumfem kupiłam (prawie, jakbym różnicę w cenie zarobiła). No i przeczytałam i podobało mi się chyba bardziej, niż się spodziewałam. Albo już jestem dość stara, albo jeszcze nie jestem na nią za stara, o. Chciałabym przy tym zaznaczyć, że mamy tu dla mnie przykład bardzo nietrafionego przekładu tytułu. "Dziewczyna, którą nigdy nie byłam" - co to może sugerować? Nieobecność, sztuczność? Opowiadanie o "alternatywnej" sobie? To nie jest moim zdaniem dobry klucz interpretacyjny. Niby blisko do historii o tym, jak fikcyjna Johanna tworzy swoje alter ego, Dolly, ale "Jak zbudować dziewczynę" to jednak nie jest taka historia - tu mamy autokreację jako projekt pozytywny, autorski i DIY, produktywny. O stawaniu się sobą. Na okładkę trafił cytat z brata bohaterki: "Nie bądź sobą, to nigdy nie działa." Ale to bardziej skomplikowane: okazuje się, że bycie nie-sobą sprawia, że stajesz się tym, co udajesz, więc trzeba się dobrze zastanawiać, when you fake it until you make it, czy to jest ten fake, którym chcesz być. Powieść robi trochę za instrukcję, jest przejmująca i miejscami zabawna i autoafirmująca. Bohaterka uczy się, że żeby kochać siebie, trzeba kochać świat, że wsparcie przychodzi z niespodziewanych stron i że czasami najważniejszym aktem miłości dla siebie jest powiedzenie "nie". To może niezbyt nowe lekcje, ale przedstawione tutaj brawurowo i miejscami śmiesznie a miejscami smutno i przejmująco, i z empatią. Są trochę momenty, gdy za dużo i za długo, ale mnie się ta narracja bardzo podobała - mimo mojej niechęci do bohemy, mimo koniecznego zażenowania patrzeniem na cudze (choćby i fikcyjne, ale jakże wiarygodne!) błędy i na to, jak strasznie potrafi być nie wiedzieć, kim się jest - ale też jak wspaniale jest móc zostawać.

  23. 5 out of 5

    A Girl Has No Name

    3.5 stars! All About A Girl by Caitlin Moran came as a really nice surprise. I’m usually not at all into the genre of humorous coming of age stories and after reading the blurb I wasn’t sure if I might like this story or not. Considering the fact that I was at a flea market and that the book was really cheap, I decided to give it a try. And I’m happy that I did, I really enjoyed this one. Growing up in an area of social housing in Wolverhampton, Johanna Morrigans is an unsecure and awkward teen 3.5 stars! All About A Girl by Caitlin Moran came as a really nice surprise. I’m usually not at all into the genre of humorous coming of age stories and after reading the blurb I wasn’t sure if I might like this story or not. Considering the fact that I was at a flea market and that the book was really cheap, I decided to give it a try. And I’m happy that I did, I really enjoyed this one. Growing up in an area of social housing in Wolverhampton, Johanna Morrigans is an unsecure and awkward teen trying to grow up into a person everybody admires. That is however a lot more difficult than it sounds, but after several defeats Johanna transforms herself into a straight forward, honest as death and crazy music writer. I loved her character development, it felt very credible and I really admired her. While being humorous, the book still managed to illustrate the difficulties of Johanna’s coming of age in a very realistic and emotional way. I’m happy that I gave a different genre a chance and I might do it again. Let’s see!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Lo empecé con muchas ganas pero me ha decepcionado, básicamente el problema que he tenido es que en ningún momento he llegado a empatizar con la protagonista hasta plantearme abandonarlo pues la verdad me resultaba indiferente lo que le pudiera llegar a pasar o si iba a haber una evolución en el personaje.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    3.5 stars. I debated whether to give this 3 or 3.5 stars, and finally settled on 3.5 stars because it did make me chuckle throughout. Caitlin Moran has a very specific style of humour which is all her - I think I'd recognise her writing a mile off, even if I hadn't been explicitly told it was her work. The story follows Johanna Morrigan, who at the start of the story is 14 and desperate to shed her old skin and 'build a new girl' - Dolly Wilde. She sets out to become a music journalist, in order t 3.5 stars. I debated whether to give this 3 or 3.5 stars, and finally settled on 3.5 stars because it did make me chuckle throughout. Caitlin Moran has a very specific style of humour which is all her - I think I'd recognise her writing a mile off, even if I hadn't been explicitly told it was her work. The story follows Johanna Morrigan, who at the start of the story is 14 and desperate to shed her old skin and 'build a new girl' - Dolly Wilde. She sets out to become a music journalist, in order to help support her impoverished family, as well as to try and find herself. The book appears to be marketed as young adult, but I would be wary of giving it to anyone under 16 - the humour is incredibly crude, with a lot of sex, swearing, and drinking/drug use throughout. There is also issues related to mental illness in here, so tread carefully if you are easily triggered by anything related to this, and the repercussions. One particular event towards the end of the book was a bit ham-fisted in my opinion, and didn't really need to be in the story, but each to their own. Johanna was an entertaining character for the most part, but I didn't ever really feel like I was hearing her voice - I couldn't help but hear Moran instead, and although she claims this book is a work of fiction, the similarities to her own life (from what I've derived from How To Be A Woman and Moranthology) are very strong. This of course could just be Moran drawing on personal experience though, which is completely fair enough. All the characters had distinctive personalities which I enjoyed, and it was never confusing to read. I wouldn't say the novel is fast-paced because some sections did go on for quite a while, and the parts were of varying length (there are three in total). However it was never boring, and I can always count on Moran to make me smile. I'd recommend this book if you're a fan of Caitlin Moran's writing style, and coming of age tales. Note I didn't say and/or there - if you don't like Moran, you probably won't like this. But I do so that's a plus.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Suya Götz

    As I wirte this review, I feel like cynical Dolly writing hers, only I'm less talented in the art of bashing people (also in writing in general). I went into this expecting something like How To Be A Woman, a feminist memoir on how to raise your daughter or be a teenager. Yes, it was entirely my fault that I did not look up what this was about, but my expectations ruined the reading experience for me. How To Build A Girl is, and at the same time isn't, the exact same as Morans other book. While th As I wirte this review, I feel like cynical Dolly writing hers, only I'm less talented in the art of bashing people (also in writing in general). I went into this expecting something like How To Be A Woman, a feminist memoir on how to raise your daughter or be a teenager. Yes, it was entirely my fault that I did not look up what this was about, but my expectations ruined the reading experience for me. How To Build A Girl is, and at the same time isn't, the exact same as Morans other book. While the story centers on a fictional character about whom I gave no fucks about, who lives a life I couldn't care less about, the writing, the family dynamics, the music reviewer career and - YES!!- even the jokes are the same! The first half of this book was pointless, irrelevant and hopefully forgettable, for I want the brain space it is taking up back. The second half was kinda funny, but it was mostly a big sex scene. I like sex scenes, but they should add something to the plot, and here it seemed they were the plot. Nothing else, just Dolly and penises. Was there a point in this book? What was the plot? Why would Dollys story interest me at all? So many unanswered questions. But there's one I know how to answer without blinking: Should you read this? No.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    I stumbled across this book while trolling my library sites for audio books. It looked good so I put my name down on the request list, I figured it had to be good with 4 people ahead of me. As the book opened I had my doubts, I'm not a prude by any means, but this teen talking about masturbating in bed while her 6 year old brother was asleep next to her made me do a double take and look at my ipod. My mouth fell open as she talked about how her brother would want her to do this because it would m I stumbled across this book while trolling my library sites for audio books. It looked good so I put my name down on the request list, I figured it had to be good with 4 people ahead of me. As the book opened I had my doubts, I'm not a prude by any means, but this teen talking about masturbating in bed while her 6 year old brother was asleep next to her made me do a double take and look at my ipod. My mouth fell open as she talked about how her brother would want her to do this because it would make her feel good. I should have just quit there but I kept listening hoping things would pick up. Sadly they didn't. I hated the life that these people lived, hated that Johann was such a downer. In the end this one just wasn't for me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Enjoyable and borderline hilarious. Most of the characters were good and the family dynamic fascinating. My main complaint is that it feels a lot like the main character is actually the author, and it feels like she's writing about herself as a teenager, from an adult point of view and with all the knowledge of after-thought, and to me she felt like a much older character and not an actual teenager. I also feel like our protagonist gets lost in all the things that are happening and we never quit Enjoyable and borderline hilarious. Most of the characters were good and the family dynamic fascinating. My main complaint is that it feels a lot like the main character is actually the author, and it feels like she's writing about herself as a teenager, from an adult point of view and with all the knowledge of after-thought, and to me she felt like a much older character and not an actual teenager. I also feel like our protagonist gets lost in all the things that are happening and we never quite reach HER, the actual person behind all these words. Other than that, interesting themes and overall quite enjoyable.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Renowden

    As a Moran fan I was pretty disappointed with this, and THOSE comments about YA. Read my full review over at my blog Hannah Reads Stuff http://hannahreadsstuff.wordpress.com...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Both laugh-out-loud funny and unbearably sad. If you have been a teenaged girl or know a teenaged girl, you will relate to this story.

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