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4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, graphic, fascinating
Over the past few years I've seen a lot of references to Caitlin Moran on the social media feeds of some friends, and when I saw she had a novel out I was intrigued. Would this be a feminist manifesto that would improve my understanding of how my friends see the world? Well no - it's not a manifesto, but it's certainly an interesting look at the life of a teenage girl...
Published 10 days ago by J. R. Johnson-Rollings

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65 of 67 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 1 month ago by E Silheit


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65 of 67 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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21 of 22 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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12 of 13 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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This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Kindle Edition)
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Like the book, this review will most likely feel familiar, 1 Aug 2014
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This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Kindle Edition)
Five stars to How to be a woman, same or thereabouts to Moranthology, and I LOVED Raised by wolves on the tellybox. But reading the same story again just felt dull, and a bit sad.

There is far too much evidence for me to think of Moran as a one trick pony. I'd just recommend any fellow fans to avoid this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware of How to build unpleasant images, 19 Aug 2014
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Hardcover)
Beware fans of Caitlin's Times' articles. Thank goodness I read this before recommending it to school age teens. From her School of Hard Shocks. I remember my first Mum deodorant, but not for the same reasons as she /Johanna vividly recounts. I really didn't want to read so many c*** encounters
. I did recall knowing all the words and moves to "Sixteen going on Seventeen" but It did not propel me to become confident and articulate in becoming an explorer in Lady Sex adventure land. I was baffled as to how the character Johanna did, albeit spurred on by her further reading of Jilly Cooper romping novels.
I would have liked Johanna to have extended her newly developed anxiety pangs (vigil by the post box) for sparing a few thoughts about sitting waiting for her period to arrive post -Dolly Wilde first sex experiences, since no mention of protection was made. I think she could have written some entertaining, informative, real life condom encounters. Ok, so we got a cautionary tale about cystitis which did blow any romantic post-coital ideas right down the toilet.
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36 of 42 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, graphic, fascinating, 10 Aug 2014
By 
J. R. Johnson-Rollings (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Hardcover)
Over the past few years I've seen a lot of references to Caitlin Moran on the social media feeds of some friends, and when I saw she had a novel out I was intrigued. Would this be a feminist manifesto that would improve my understanding of how my friends see the world? Well no - it's not a manifesto, but it's certainly an interesting look at the life of a teenage girl that does nothing to gloss over reality.

The narrative is reminiscent of Adrian Mole in many ways - although not a diary, the narrative is presented in the first person and presents an unfiltered view of a naive teenager, and the dynamic of the family around her. It feels honest, authentic, and although in some places uncomfortably graphic it doesn't seem like it is setting out to shock. There is one image in particular though that I worry will stay with me for some time.

I'll admit that I found the first few chapters quite hard-going, and had to really force myself to focus to get through them - I'm not really sure why, and it may have been my misplaced perception going in which was making me think I really needed to ensure I took everything in. Once I got past the early chapters though I fell completely into the rhythm of the story and flowed through the rest of the book.

What I loved the most was the subtle humour that the narration was able to add at the expense of her younger self. There's one running joke that had me giggling throughout which I really appreciated.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bitterly Disappointing, 21 July 2014
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This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars With regret it's a "NO" from me, 8 Aug 2014
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This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Kindle Edition)
I love Caitlin Moran's articles in The Times and adored "How to be a Woman", but this was a bitter disappointment. It appears to be "How to be a Woman" in "novel" form: young girl in Wolverhampton within a large family with parents on the dole. Then she becomes a music journalist. Really? Couldn't she be more inventive and have the heroine brought up in Bradford? An only child? And becoming a footballer? Or Whatever. Like other reviewers, I believe this is a clear re-hash of Moran's autobiography. Very disappointing.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too self-absorbed and thereby not interesting to read, 19 July 2014
By 
Dottie (S.East England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Kindle Edition)
Not worth reading, total waste of time. Was recommended on twitter by Nigella Lawson, who claimed it was so brilliant she read it one sitting, because it was too good to put down. Then Caitlin and Nigella verbally bum licked, said how each were so wonderful and promoted each other's work. Having read the book I can confirm that Nigella's book recommendations are totally over the top for her friends and for other writers who may comment on her books. So her book recommendations can't be trusted, as she is always reminding fellow authors about the importance of royalties. A book for fellow self-absorbed folk, maybe fellow journalists as they can relate to being so self-absorbed? It's a shame, I was really looking forward to a good read, but this was anything but. Fortunately I picked it up in the local library, so at least I didn't waste my money, as well as my time.
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