How to Build A GirlBook - 2014
The New York Times bestselling author hailed as "the UK's answer to Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, and Lena Dunham all rolled into one" (Marie Claire) makes her fiction debut with a hilarious yet deeply moving coming of age novel.
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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From Library Staff
LPL_KateG Jan 21, 2015
How to Build a Girl is one of the most consistently funny books I've read in years, while also being thoughtful and heartbreaking at times. I cackled several times at Johanna Morrigan/Dolly Wilde's commentary, and also felt like I'd relived some of my own embarrassing adolescence.
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
Because what you are, as a teenager, is a small, silver, empty rocket. And you use loud music as fuel, and then the information in books as maps and coordinates, to tell you where you’re going.
He seemed to find my innocence joyous. I can’t imagine telling anyone else. Other people seem to find my inexperience a liability.
I applaud your fucking brightness. The thing is, when you start smoking, you think you’ve bought a fun baby dragon. You think you’ve charmed a fabulous beast, as your toy, that will impress all that see it. And then, twenty years later, you wake up with your lungs full of cinder and shite, and the bed on fire, and you realize the dragon grew up---and burned your fucking house down.
Ever so often I would look up and see us reflected in the mirror, under the low golden pub lamps, as the fog curled wetly outside the window, and it was the happiest picture of me never taken.
"[M]y understanding about men eating women out is that the rules are a bit like the Prime Directive in Star Trek. You know--where the crew of the Enterprise are forbidden from telling other, more primitive cultures about astonishing and enjoyable technological advances on other planets."
AgeAdd Age Suitability
CarrionLibrarian thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over
multcolib_lauralw thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over
SummaryAdd a Summary
Raucous, profane British fiction set in the world of rock n roll with a surprisingly heartwarming ending.
Time, now, for your librarian to admit a bias: If Caitlin Moran releases a book, I put a hold on it to see about giving it a review. I can’t help myself – I love her infectious, positive, raucous energy, and I want everyone to know it’s out there for you to hold.
If you enjoyed *Moranthology*, or her previous book *How to Be a Woman*, chances are strong you’ll love *How to Build a Girl*, too. Although *How to Build a Girl* is a work of fiction, it’s just as punk rock as anything she’s written before.
Protagonist Dolly Wilde has a lot in common with Moran – she comes of age overweight and poor, living in subsidized housing in the post-industrial wasteland of Wolverhampton, UK. Like Moran, she finds a ticket out by becoming a clever music columnist for an indie music weekly in the 90s. Also like Moran, she finds freedom in going on “lady sex adventures” and generally behaving like all the boys in her field, steadfastly trying to ignore the scurrilous judgment that comes when a girl adopts that lifestyle. So. This book may not be for everyone. If you like a nice, gentle read, you should back away now.
That said, if this book is for you, it’s really for you. Dolly’s struggles to create herself in a male-dominated field and world will ring true to any woman with a wild side who’s just trying to have as much fun as the boys. Moran’s prose doesn’t dwell on the injustice, though, so much as celebrate the attempts to circumvent it. It also lavishly celebrates the 90s, revelling in Britpop, grunge, Riot Grrrls and zine culture. For any woman who wants to relive the 90s as a lady rock critic underdog who takes on the boys and wins while having all the fun, your chance has arrived. I suggest you take it.
Sexual Content: Masturbation, promiscuity
Coarse Language: Salty, British street language