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How to Build a Girl Hardcover – 3 Jul 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (3 July 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • 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 (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,202 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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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 89 people found the following review helpful By E Silheit on 8 July 2014
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S.M. Gidley on 26 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover
It’s ironic that a novel about a young woman who becomes a music journalist is like listening to a monkey endlessly pounding out the same two notes on a piano.

Moran is a good writer, stylistically you cannot fault her, but her subject matter has now officially not just worn thin, but completely and utterly worn through. Despite the disclaimer at the beginning, this is really just a warming-over of her own story, already well and truly milked in How to be a Woman and squeezed even further dry by her columns.

The only thing that I can see is different between her own life is the number of siblings. As is well documented, Moran is one of eight, in this novel there are “only” five children, with the youngest twins. Mercifully, this lets the reader off of her regular entrenched proselytising about the welfare state and her belief that having almost a football team of children when you have no hope at all of financially supporting them at all is some kind of noble enterprise.

Most worrying of all is the ending; it is left quite open, with the heroine’s move to London. I have a feeling that this is not the last we’ll hear of Dolly Wilde.

Water finds its level; Moran is unlikely to rise any furhter than this until she finds some new subject matter. Even enfants terribles all need to grow up some day.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By lemonyellow on 15 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
Really disappointing. I was hoping for a well-written, decent novel, as Moran's columns are always a great read, but this seemed to be written on a 'write-whatever-springs-to-mind-and-edit-it-later-oops-ran-out-of-time-so-it-didn't-get-edited' basis. Such a shame - I had been looking forward to it.
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By darklittlelady on 3 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover
How to Build a Girl is set in England in the 1990s. To be more specific, our main character Johanna lives in Wolverhampton, about two hours north of London.

We accompany Johanna Morrigan through the worst of her teenage years. Johanna is a chubby girl who wants to change the way people see her. This is why she reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde, a goth and music critic who has seen it all. While I can absolutely identify with Johanna, I’m having problems with Dolly. Sure, like Johanna, Dolly has traits that remind me of my teenage self (very spooky!), but sometimes I get the feeling that Dolly’s character is a bit over the top. I can’t think of any person I know who, as a teenager, behaved like Dolly – and I was in the goth and heavy metal scene myself for some time.

Overall, reading How to Build a Girl feels like traveling back in time. I got to relive my teenage years with a different perspective. The novel is fun and includes bite-sized historical background information for those who aren’t that familiar with the UK in the 1990s. How to Build a Girl is the perfect read for 20- and 30-somethings, as they can relate to the 1990s setting and connect with Johanna/Dolly.
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