How to Build a Girl: Book summary and reviews of How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

How to Build a Girl

by Caitlin Moran

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran X
How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2014
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn't enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes - and build yourself.

It's 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there's no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde - fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer - like Jo in Little Women, or the Bröntes - but without the dying young bit.

By sixteen, she's smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She's writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.

But what happens when Johanna realizes she's built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?

Imagine The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease. How to Build a Girl is a funny, poignant, and heartbreakingly evocative story of self-discovery and invention, as only Caitlin Moran could tell it.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Hilarious autobiographical fiction debut for Britain's Lena Dunham." - Kirkus

"In her first novel, comedian Moran's (How to Be a Woman, 2012) characters are huggable and aggressively real; her setting - 1990s Wolverhampton and London - touchable; and her depiction of growing up well worth reading. One heartily hopes there's more where this came from." - Booklist

"Unfortunately, Johanna's voice feels forced, and her exploits seem to surpass what might have been believable chutzpah." - Publishers Weekly

"Brilliantly observed, thrillingly rude and laugh-out-loud funny." - Helen Fielding, author of Mad About the Boy and Bridget Jones's Diary

"I have so much love for Caitlin Moran." - Lena Dunham

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Reader Reviews

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serine

class and femenism
I read this book as part of a paper. The book is brilliant for a young audience aged 15- 20. It shows a search for an identity that many of us can relate to. The book also has amazing humor that deals with poverty, feminism, work and sex.

I find the main character of the book refreshingly original as she is different from the women in The Hunger Games or Fifty Shades of Gray. This is not a women that has to save the world but just survive in the an every day life. Also there is no man that helps her discover her sexuality! This girl is a sexual person in her own right and we as readers get to follow her as she tries out the adult world. she can make mistakes so we don't have to.

I read this book after reading Caitlin Moran's other book How To Be A Women. So if you like that one and wanted a book that deals with issues for a younger group then this is a great book to read.

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Author Information

Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran was named the Columnist of the Year by the British Press Awards in 2010, and Critic and Interviewer of the Year in 2011 for her work at the Times of London. You can follow Caitlin on Twitter @caitlinmoran.

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