How to Build a Girl: Part 3


Phew, I had to stop and write this post because things are starting to roll and I want to keep reading. We’re on part three of the How to Build a Girl readalong! Things are definitely getting spoilerific now, but I’ll have the readalong broken down in sections in the archives if you’d like to pop by later after you’ve read.

So, Johanna gets the big break of her writing gig and heads off to Dublin to interview musician John Kite. She falls hard for John’s charm and the attention he pays her, as the pair spend an evening chatting like best friends. Later, he mails her a Serge Gainsbourg tape, which I’m not really sure she would dig as much as she digs the fact that it’s from John and sounds creepy sexy. I much prefer his daughter and imagine Johanna would, too, had she been recording in the early 90’s.


Unfortunately, Johanna’s hard crush leads to her writing a fangirling article that cuts her off from the magazine at the same time her family’s benefits are cut off. Not good. After several weeks Johanna is called back in by D&ME, who remind her to be a critic not a fan and take her to her first drunken industry party where she waits for John Kite to arrive. As fate would have it, John pops into the party for a few minutes, says he has to leave, and kisses Johanna before taking off. Johanna turns around to meet Tony Rich, D&ME’s star writer, who is quick to evaluate her and tells her she’s in for causing trouble.

A few specific thoughts:

  • As a non-smoker who frequently finds herself in socially awkward situations, I totally understood Johanna’s appreciation for the handiness of smoking. Such a good excuse!
  • Pretty much every scene between Johanna and Krissi is gold, but holy jeez the shared bedroom.
  • I’m trying to figure out how I feel about Johanna and this Kite fellow. Is he just an epic rockstar douchebag who charms every girl he meets and then floats off to the next city (and let’s face it, Johanna is pretty easily charmed)? Or were the moments they had together genuinely sweet and the spark of a great friendship with Johanna pushing it to be more? I think I’m just skeptical because we’re reading from Johanna’s point of view, and boy do I know how skewed my perspective was on male feelings at seventeen.
  • I am so excited for Johanna to be trouble.
  • Adding this in after reading some discussion on other blogs (look, you guys are an inspiration): This really made me realize how much of a utopia I’ve made countries like England and Canada out to be, mostly because of their healthcare systems, without really thinking about the fact that people are people everywhere. I mean, I know that benefits and welfare are hot button issues everywhere, but people here in the US just seem like such epic assholes about it. It was really interesting to me to see such frank discussion (both in the book and on other blogs), since I didn’t think it was something that hit a nerve in England the way it does here.