Oh, Ms Moran. I am sad and disappointed by this book. I had waited for it like a child waits for Christmas, and read it the first day it downloaded itself onto my Kindle.
If I hadn't read "How to be a Woman" this would have been a very, very funny book. But because it's a collection of articles, it is somehow...not very satisfying in book format. One can, at times, almost sense the desperation of the author, up against her deadline, typing away furiously in order to fill up that 600 word count with Sherlock fangirl love before the editor explodes. If this had been advertised properly as a selection of the Times columns, it would have been a very good book indeed. However, it was publicised as "all the stuff that didn't fit into "How to be a Woman"". And it's not, really. There is a great deal of churnalism. We've heard about the going clubbing with Lady Gaga. We know your views on burqas and the test for sexism (is it polite? Are the men doing it?) We remember you talking about being horrifically late to interview the PM.
Don't misunderstand. This is not a bad book. I would be being very, very unfair indeed if I were to suggest that this isn't enjoyable. There are some lovely purple patches about Downton Abbey, the beauty of Wales and the disconcerting resemblance of David Cameron to a gammon (yup, that hits the nail on the head. Or the clove into the gammon). The elogy on Ghostbusters and the versatility of its one liners was classic Moran: "Back off, man - I'm a scientist" is the one I find myself using the most often; most recently when the logic in opening a bottle of warm rose at 3am was brought into question". The piece on libraries is one of the most beautiful things written in the English language, and made me cry, a little bit. Ditto the pieces on the Olympics, which are so very well observed: "Even if Sebastian [Coe] does completely balls it up, there's no getting away from the fact that, for a month, the Canadian Men's Swimming Team are going to be on the Central Line, a little bit lost and a whole lot buff, letting me stare at them for free. Bring the honey to the MILFs, IOC". That one had me laughing so hard on my morning commute that I think my Tube carriage wanted me sectioned - or better still, shot at point blank - at the next station. But there aren't enough of those moments to make a book. The purple patches fade to lilac as they're stretched out with column-filling tumbleweedy stuff about the hotness of Benedict Cumberbatch, and the attempt to weave in the "in bed with Pete" conversations doth not a structure make.
This suffers from second book syndrome, in my view. Her first adult book was so great, so glorious, that I have made a present of it to EVERYONE I know, man, woman and awkward teenage girl alike. (I haven't given "How to be a Woman" to teenage boys. They have to figure that stuff out first, else they'll be way too successful in life.) I can't do that with Moranthology. It was funny in places, sad in others, wry in many - but it didn't have that awesome newness of perspective and turns of phrase that you will end up quoting from memory even whilst wrecked in a bar on a Saturday night.