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How to Build a Girl Hardcover – 3 Jul 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 281 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091949009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091949006
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (281 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"spirited coming of age novel romps from strength to strength…I’m a Moran fan" (Lionel Shriver The Times)

"rude, big-hearted, wise-cracking novel" (Christina Patterson The Sunday Times)

"a Portnoy's Complaint for girls… when I see this book described as "laugh-out-loud funny" I feel affronted; it could make you laugh out loud with one hand tied behind its back, while wanking itself off to fantasies of Satan. Laughing out loud is just the start" (Zoe Williams The Guardian)

"an entertaining read, with Moran in fine voice – hilarious, wild, imaginative and highly valuable…Moran is in danger of becoming to female masturbation what Keats was to Nightingales…" (Barbara Ellen The Observer)

"Moran also writes brilliantly about music, and especially about what music can do. She carries Johanna through this novel with incredible verve, extravagant candour, and a lot of heart. Johanna is … a wonderful heroine. A heroine who cares, who bravely sallies forth and makes things happen, who gives of herself, who is refreshingly unashamed. She’s so confident, it’s glorious" (The Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

The number 1 Sunday Times bestseller, the debut grown-up novel from Caitlin Moran, bestselling author of How To Be A Woman

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
.....only with different names. This is basically How To Be a Woman all over again, only the heroine's surname is Morrigan not Moran. Actually had to stop a couple of times to check I hadn't accidentally picked up the other book by mistake. There is not much new here.

Moran is a very funny writer, but please. Also all the reviews calling it a "debut novel"? Come on, she's been writing books for decades. She is essentially the female Kingsley Amis: you get the same entertaining, but far too familiar book again, and again, and again. How many home schooled working class 90s teens from Wolverhampton do we need to hear about for her to acknowledge, we got the point?

This seems to be written for adults who want to read the YA fiction they wish they had in the 90s instead of real books. OK for all that but I expected more. Moran has a lot of talent. Here's hoping someone pushes her to write about something other than herself next time.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is How To Be A Woman - re-named, re-packed and re-cycled as a shallow money-making exercise by Moran and her publishers.

It's almost as if she went through all the discarded notes/entries for HTBAW and used them here. Lazy, unconvincing and - at times - a bit sexist.

Couldn't she have at least have changed the story location from Wolverhampton? I'm amazed the editor didn't demand this.
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Format: Hardcover
When I read the forward and preface to this book I admit I was concerned that I was about to read the earnest, heartfelt, and completely uninteresting prose/blog of a bright, sincere teenager. Boy, am I a dope, or what?

This book is, in fact, earnest, heartfelt, sincere and bright. It is also searingly funny, completely engaging, bawdy, rowdy, and brutally honest. This is not a lost-to-drugs-and-back story, or a tale of redemption after hitting bottom, or a melodrama fancied up with some new age or self-help wisdom.

It is an honest, rueful, deadpan story about growing up, spiced with exaggeration for effect, naughty bits, some cutting self examination, a few romantic touches, and lots of cheerfully lacerating observations about life, families, society, and the music business.

This only works, or at least it will only hold book length attention, if the reader can connect with some fundamentally sound aspect of the narrator. I'm not doing 300 pages of train wreck. I might do 300 hundred pages of funny train wreck. I absolutely won't go near 300 pages of poor-victim-me train wreck. Well, this author, (or, actually the character she created), can come over to my house, drink too much wine, and tell stories all night, and that will be fine by me. (Actually, the actual author can come too, since she's probably alright as well.) (By the way, the heroine's name is "Johanna Morrigan". "Morrigan" is a figure from Irish mythology and is considered the goddess of 'battle, strife, and sovereignty'. Could there possibly be a better name for this character? No. For that touch alone you should read this book.)

But this is not just an extended stand-up comedy act or a string of clever zingers hung together to look like a novel.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a fan of Caitlin and wanted to like this, bug it was a big disappointment. It covers the exactly same ground as the autobiographical 'How to be a woman' and Caitlin's sitcom 'Raised by wolves', ie being an overweight, unpopular teenage girl raised in a large, poor family in the Midlands. Caitlin only seems capable of writing about herself - which works well for her column, but not for what is supposedly a work of fiction.

This book really doesn't have much in the way of a plot, and I suspect it would never have been published if written by a lesser-known author. At times, the writing felt forced. I read that Caitlin really struggled to write this book, needing lots of encouragement and intervention from her publishers, and I suspect it's because she's already written extensively about the subject matter and had nothing new to say. How much can you milk the experience of being being poor/living in a big family before people get bored? Well, I'm bored. And this book came across as a cynical money-making effort rather than a work of true creativity.

If you haven't already read it, I recommend the excellent 'How to be a woman' instead. If you have already read it, don't bother with this 'new' book, which is truly nothing new.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A typically funny read from Caitlin Moran, although I could have done without the frequent references to the subject's frantic teenage masturbation...especially when conducted rather disturbingly next to her younger sleeping brother.

I was also disappointed to find a duplicated passage (literally word for word) from Moranthology - the description of her job interview with a newspaper and joke about the line from the film Annie. I haven't finished the book yet so am hoping there won't be any more repetition.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read 'How to be a Woman' and publicly cried with laughter reading it on my daily commute, I pre-ordered 'How to build a girl' anticipating another great read from Caitlin Moran. However, I was bitterly disappointed. Whilst Moran states that this book is entirely fiction and the main character of Johanna is not based on herself, the similarities with descriptions of her own childhood are uncanny. The character essentially has exactly the same upbringing and early career as Moran and you can't help but think all the scenes are based on anecdotes from Moran's own wild lifestyle in the 90s music scene. This book seems lazy. There is nothing new here besides the over the top, unnecessarily descriptive accounts of a teenage girl's sex life which leave you feeling slightly uncomfortable and I'm not usually one to be prudish at all.

It seems to me that Moran lazily rushed out a book based on her own life which she has already written about rather than use her imagination to come up with a new story and littered it with vulgar scenes in order to be 'controversial' and 'shocking'. Perhaps she should stick to non-fiction. I can relate to that and it and has had me in tears both with laughter and anguish.

I cannot recommend this book but I strongly recommend you buy How to be a Woman instead as that is a book that truly touches the heart and changes how you feel about being a woman.
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