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How To Be a Woman Paperback – 16 Jun 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (16 Jun. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091940737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091940737
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (836 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Spectacular! Very, very funny, moving and revealing"--Jonathan Ross

"I have been waiting for this book my whole life"--Claudia Winkleman

"I adore, admire and - more - am addicted to Caitin Moran’s writing."--Nigella Lawson

"Moran's writing sparkles with wit and warmth. Like the confidences of your smartest friend."--Simon Pegg

"Ever since I was eighteen I've wanted to be as cool as Caitlin Moran. Now this book has shown me how. Witty, wise and wonderful, this is an indispensable guide to Ladyhood. I laughed. I cried. I found out what my favourite writer calls her vagina."--Lauren Laverne

Book Description

A new way of looking at feminism from one of our funniest writers

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3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By gwensi on 20 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The bits about Caitlin Moran's unusual childhood and family are brilliant (family on benefits, 7 siblings, home schooled). If she writes a straightforward autobiography I'll buy it in a heartbeat. In this book though the autobiographical bits are mixed in with some feminist discussions. It's a bit like listening to a friend rant in the pub - you agree with some of it, you disagree with some of it, and generally you're interested in what they have to say. The problem is, you can't join in with the book. There's no opportunity to tell your drunk friend in the pub that they're talking rubbish. It's very frustrating and leads to you ranting at the book. If you enjoy that, this is the book for you.

The other thing that bugged me was that although she's clearly a very successful woman, she writes most of the book with an air of 'I'm rubbish, I just muddle through', which is infuriating. Hard to believe she read her way through a library or two but didn't at any point learn, for example, how to act in a workplace, dress appropriately, or prepare for giving birth. It seemed incongruous in a feminist book, which you really don't expect to be endorsing a 'silly me, I'm so ditzy' attitude in women.
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300 of 319 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Rayner on 14 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
...which I'm not, you understand. I've a decade on Caitin and grew up with the feminist debate raging about mine ears. For a while now I've been sighing heavily at how it seemed to have fallen off the cultural radar - no one seemed to be talking about it any more, let alone calling themselves a feminist. And now here's Ms Moran, putting the debate about what it means to be a woman in the 21st century not just back on the agenda, but in the non-fiction top 10. Hoo-blooming-ray! Look, there's heaps about this book that's annoying. The incessant CAPITAL LETTERS. The surfeit of screamers. Initially I felt like I was being shouted at, that the jokes weren't all funny, and this was a memoir masquerading as polemic. But unlike other reviewers who thought it petered out, I warmed to How to Be a Woman hugely. The writing seemed to calm down, become less personal, more thoughtful. So by the end I was converted. I've just been to buy a copy for my teenage goddaughter. She told me her ambition was to 'get married and go to parties' (presumably not in that order). So I hiked her by her beautiful long hair to the nearest bookshop and thrust a copy into her perfectly manicured hand. 'Read this,' I said. 'It's funny'. She may not agree with all or even any of it. But I think she's much more likely to actually read it than Germaine Greer or Simone de Beauvoir, and if it makes her think - just a bit - then I'll be pleased. And if she gains just a smidge more ambition, I'll be cockahoop. So if you've never read a book on feminism, read this one. And if you've read a few, read it too. It's contemporary, strident and wise. You'll also have a laugh, and crikey, there are a lot worse ways to spend your time.
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499 of 545 people found the following review helpful By Al on 30 July 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm giving this book 3 stars as an average based on the fact that at the beginning I thought I would be giving it 5 but by the end I wanted to give it just 1.

My girlfriend has been asking me to read this book for a while (for the record I am male but like to think I am as liberal as they come). Eventually I acquiesced and started reading with few expectations (I had never heard of Caitlin Moran before I picked this up). I thought the prologue was great. It was genuinely funny (even made me laugh out loud a couple of times which almost never happens), well written, and engaging. The next few chapters were just good, though I felt like it could have done with some ruthless editing of the bits that weren't quite so funny or poignant to make it great. But towards the middle of the book things started to go downhill, pretty steeply.

One of the problems with the book is that the author talks as if everything is black or white, gloriously righteous or disgustingly evil. In the beginning when she is talking about obvious things (woman should have the same opportunities as men, etc..) this is fine. It's when she gets into more debatable arguments (strip clubs= evil, burlesque shows + pole dancing lessons= fantastic), even about things that I agree on (e.g. pro-choice, aethiesm) that this starts to grate. She treats the idea that any opinion other than her own could have any validity with contempt and doesn't really put forward any cogent arguments for her reasoning (but basically devolves into semi-coherent rants over and over again- and this is coming from someone who actually agrees with the broad points she is making!!).

She talks in sweeping generalizations and sometimes contradicts herself.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Viktoria doronina on 31 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
A wonderful, frank book, which I enjoyed immensely. However, I strongly disagree with one of the points.

Sorry, I'll quote from memory, because there was a small queue to read How to be a woman at Bury (Greater Manchester) libraries, and I had to return the book rather suddenly. The part I am talking about says something along the lines, that men despise women not because of a "eunuch complex" or any similar artificial highbrow concept but because women are losers.

I agree with this but you elaborate saying, approximately, that in 50 years since the beginning of mass-production of the pill and changes in the law, which declared gender equality in workplace for a tiny minority of Western women, they did not produce anybody equal to Einstein and Steven Hawking.

I cannot argue about Einstein, after all, there are probably only four or five people, which radically changed how we picture the physical world - Plato, Aristotle, Newton with the first person who proposed the idea of the atom being the fifth. Hawkins, on the other hand, "only" made a relatively major contribution to the current cosmology theory and is mostly known as a celebrity.

There are scores and scores of scientists of his caliber. Surely Marie Skłodowska-Curie, who discovered radioactivity, which has had much wider implications than Hawking's inflation theory, is more than on par with Hawkins, who did not win a Nobel Prize yet? She won not one, but two, the first shared with her husband and another man, but the second one with no one. Incidentally, her daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie also won a Nobel Prize.

There is a difference between true worth of a person and his or her media coverage, and the media prefer eminent men and beautiful women, and rarely other way around. I think if we carefully examine the other examples of non-surpassed winning men, we'll discover a few equally talented women.
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