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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Relive Your Teenage Years
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...
Published 2 months ago by darklittlelady

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82 of 85 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 5 months ago by E Silheit


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82 of 85 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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9 of 9 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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25 of 26 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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4 of 4 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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12 of 13 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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16 of 18 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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40 of 46 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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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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How not to write a book., 27 July 2014
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This review is from: How to Build a Girl (Kindle Edition)
Johanna Morrigan/Dolly Wylde is such a grotesque caricature that my eyes almost bled reading this. And as for the storyline, it would have been more realistic if the teenage hero ended the book by saying "and then, reader, I woke up and realised it was all a dream." Just to add to the astounding numbers of clichés therein. I do like Caitlin Moran's newspaper articles, but this just read like some very poorly tacked together drunken fumblings.
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12 of 14 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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How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
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