Moran’s “How to Build a Girl” P.1.

[Image: Green cover of “How to Build a Girl” by Caitlin Moran with a green background].
I have to admit, I didn’t like this book very much when I first started reading it. I had just finished a really incredible book (Cruddy by Lynda Barry, many content warnings), and it sort of paled in comparison.

However, now that I’m 100 pages in, it’s really starting to grow on me. I can relate to the way the main character, Johanna, reinvents herself, as someone who is constantly reinventing my own identity. And though it feels a tad like white feminism at times, the author does touch on issues of class quite a bit, going deeper into that concept as the page numbers grow.

This is one of those books where the story is better than the writing. The writing itself isn’t bad, but it’s pretty simple, which makes for a fast read. It is the opposite of tedious – it is fast-paced, attention grabbing, and often very funny.

I don’t usually laugh out loud while reading, but I embarrassed myself by doing so on my lunch break at work. Johanna can be quirky, ridiculous, and just plain blunt. The fact that the novel is frequently hilarious offsets what I feel is, at times, a lack of depth. It is a lighthearted, fun read.

Sometimes, it is brain candy. And sometimes, it is painfully awkward and touching.

I expect that many with a rebellious streak and a fixation on identity would be able to relate to Johanna.

Oh, and masturbation comes up a lot, so prepare yourself.

Would I recommend this book to a close friend? Perhaps not yet, but I still have quite a bit to go, so I’ll keep you posted on that and give you my full review once I’ve finished it.


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