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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've Never Been A Teenage Girl, I Never Hope to Be One; But I Can Tell You Anyhow, I'd Rather See Than Be One
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...
Published 2 months ago by Ancient Mariner

versus
98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You've read it already.......
.....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...
Published 9 months ago by E Silheit


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98 of 104 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You've read it already......., 8 July 2014
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've Never Been A Teenage Girl, I Never Hope to Be One; But I Can Tell You Anyhow, I'd Rather See Than Be One, 3 Feb. 2015
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (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. Our heroine follows an unconventional but dramatic path to some reasonable form of enlightenment and self-invention. You know that old chestnut that all fiction is either "a stranger rides into town or a man goes on a trip"? Well, here, Johanna Morrigan definitely goes on a trip, and it may be long, strange and wild, but we all eventually end up in an unexpected and satisfying place. What a nice find.

Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Relive Your Teenage Years, 3 Oct. 2014
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Here we go again..., 26 Aug. 2014
By 
S.M. Gidley (Sidmouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (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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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not very well structured, but some likeable characters, 15 July 2014
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit poor Caitlin - what are you doing?, 22 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Hardcover)
I feel horribly disloyal about writing this. But I didnt think much of this. I loved "How to be a woman" but this is a bit 'samey' and not that good.
You could read 'How to be a woman' and skip this book, as all the humour and jokes are pretty much the same, and the stories are pretty parallel. I am unsure as to the point of this book. There are very few new ideas.
Its a shame as I love Caitlin Moran. But this felt lazy.
Read 'How to be a Woman' dont read this.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Caitlin Moran's a one-trick pony, 26 July 2014
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When not shrill, mawkish, 24 April 2015
By 
Alex Knisely (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Paperback)
Moran is interesting in 200-word newspaper columns. But in large doses? I enjoyed the book for a while. Then its louchely elbowing insistence became tedious. I finished it without enthusiasm.

It's of a piece with her rushed, tumbling speech in interviews, thrusting forward, interrupting, rattling through rehearsed anecdote after rehearsed anecdote inappropriate for the conversation but ! It will get a laugh ! It will hold centre stage ! Pay attention ! Pay attention ! Pay attention to ME ! ! ! -- Yes. We're paying attention. What would you like us to learn from you? -- Er... There isn't enough love in the world, and we should be nicer to one another! -- Ah. Thank you.

Maybe that's what one has to do as one of a dozen children if one is to be noticed at all; be the one who never walks, only tap-dances. "If I can't be graceful, I'll be loud." But oh, what a relief for everyone else, when Caitlin leaves the room, when the clatter stops.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Covers old ground - avoid, 9 July 2014
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overall a good read, some crossover with Moranthology, 14 July 2014
By 
Mamma Po (Isle of Wight, UK) - See all my reviews
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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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How to Build a Girl
How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran (Hardcover - 3 July 2014)
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