I guess the problem I have with Caitlin Moran is that she could write any old rubbish and I would probably be too blinded by hero worship to actually see it for what it is… old rubbish.
That is not to say that is what her latest offering is but if you are here expecting a lack of bias and detachment, keep moving.
In fact, if her next book happens to detail how positively cool it is to meet on a weekend and shear sheep of their beautiful wooliness, I will be there. Second hand clippers in tow and a few unwitting friends I may have blindsided with the words ‘just going to the pub’. Friends, beware.
So, with that out of the way, let’s discuss How to Build a Girl.
It starts with a very clear introduction from the author reminding one and all that it is a work of fiction, despite the very clear links with Caitlin’s past. Wolverhampton, large family, benefit dependency and a wholly determined and devastatingly embarrassing protagonist, Johanna, all let us slip into a world that could be confused with the author’s own determined and devastatingly embarrassing adolescence (See How to Be a Woman).
With that little bit of confusion cleared up it is on with the tale.
We follow Johanna and her alter ego writer, Dolly Wilde, as she potters around the house looking after her siblings, trying to keep on the top side of teenage sexual frustration whilst looking for a way to help fund her family out of their financial woes.
We see her build a career in music journalism, fall in love, take a stroll into a myriad of sex adventures, nearly burn down her career along with her family’s finances as well as the obligatory reminder of the sheer misery that is cystitis*. Quite an escapade really! And one that I really did enjoy. It made me laugh loudly and smile like a fool, unfortunately it did also make me cry but that is my cross to bear as that had more to do with my relating strongly to a far from self assured teenager at the grand old age of twenty five.
What I think she has achieved here is giving a voice to that youth inside all of us that remains eternally outcast, the opportunity to ‘rebuild’ for all those who think ‘this is not me’ and a gentle reminder that the only person allowed to judge you is you.
A positive message as far as I can tell!
So, as far as I am concerned Caitlin Moran’s jaunt into fiction is a success.
Keep the fiction flowing!
Now, in order to complete my full transformation into ‘fan girl’ I need this particular hardback signing!
Roll on next week when I shall be attending Caitlin Moran Live (in Leeds)**.
*we all know that nothing written by Moran would be worth its salt without this terribly painful reminder.
** ramble on this to follow.