how to build a girl moran

It’s Monday, Get Ready For How to Build a Girl!

how to build a girl moran

Mondays are usually my day to wrap up my weekly reading and share what I plan to pick up, but this month I’m taking part in a pre-publication readalong of Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl with several other bloggers. We’ll be reading the book throughout July and sharing our thoughts in small sections each Monday. I haven’t read anything by Moran, though she’s been on my TBR for ages, so I’m quite excited about this. How to Build a Girl is being billed as “The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease”, which cranks that excitement up a notch. At the same time, I have a little added curiosity after reading Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist earlier this week, which questioned some of the strategies Moran used in How to Be a Woman. All combined, I’m looking forward to giving more YA a try, reading an author I’ve been meaning to get to and discussing it all with other bloggers.

You can check out the introduction to the readalong (with a Caitlin Moran e-mail!) and meet the rest of the participating bloggers over at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads). And if you’re curious about How to Build a Girl, here’s the full synopsis.

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.

  • “The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease” sells me. I’d like to experience that.

  • I’ve got it on my Kindle at the moments, I’m looking forward to reading it although…. Moran’s exuberance can be a little much in large doses. I think it will be enjoyable and different, but perhaps not ground breaking. Although, I am happily hoping to be proven wrong on that front. Do pick up How to be a Woman if you can, possibly as you read this, as I suspect it may assist in understanding her plot choices.

    • Oh, I just might read them together – that’s a great idea! The schedule gives us much more time than I would normally take on a book, so I could squeeze in both.

  • I was just looking at Evergreen a few minutes ago. And the How to Build a Girl read a long sounds wonderful. Moran is hugely popular in the UK and I’m glad to see she is just as appreciated in North America!

  • Emily@As the Crowe Flies

    I’m so glad you’re joining in the readalong. ‘s gonna be fun, fun, fun. And yes, kudos to the person who came up with the Rizzo/Bell Jar comp.

  • Ti Reed

    How to Build a Girl sounds really gritty!! I love grit but I don’t seem to be in the mood for it this summer. A first for me.

  • Was just telling Jennifer at Bookalicious Mama that I’m really curious to see what y’all will think of this one. I love me some Moran, and now I’m even more curious to read Bad Feminist, too.

  • Alley

    This readalong is going to be so much fun. I have high hopes for this book. and I’m only slightly freaking out that Moran might be popping by and checking out what we’re saying.

  • I want to read every single title in this post. Seriously. Gah!!!
    Have an amazing readalong!

  • Rayna

    I didn’t realize Bad Feminist and How to Be a Woman were opposed in their perspectives… I’ve had them both on my TBR list for ages. Now I’ll definitely need to read them together!

    I’m so excited for this readalong – see you next week :)

    • I don’t know that they’re necessarily opposed, since the overall idea of Bad Feminist is embracing feminism in whatever form it takes, but there’s just one essay where she addresses How to Be a Woman (among several other books). It’s going to be really interesting to read all of these back to back!

  • I just got this for review and I’m very excited about reading it. It sounds so different than anything else!

  • Super excited for this readalong! As excited for the actual book. My first question is whether the occupation of “Lady Sex Adventurer” comes with a custom hat.

  • Kaylee E

    I hope you go into some of the criticism/discussion points from Bad Feminist during the readalong, I’m certain it’ll come up given this book’s topic. Of course I could just read B.F myself, and I will…one day…soon hopefully!

  • Sarah Says Read

    I’m really excited about this Moran book, and I REALLY REALLY want to read Bad Feminist – particularly because I had some issues with How to Be a Woman and I’m curious to see what Roxane Gay had to say about it… (I always feel like the weirdo who didn’t love HtBaW).

    • I think you’ll probably really appreciate what Roxane Gay has to say (plus, it’s a great book all around).

  • Um, WHAT, how did I miss hearing that she models herself on Dolly Wilde? I hate myself! I thought my ears were perfectly attuned to any whisper of news relating to Oscar Wilde, and after all the coverage I’ve seen of How to Build a Girl (which I admit I haven’t paid very close attention to), I am just learning about this Oscar Wilde connection now? MAN. I am intrigued now.

  • I’m definitely getting Bad Feminist and the Moran book. I’ve never wanted to read Moran before, but this novel sounds good, so I’m willing to give her writing a go. Enjoy all these great reads :)

  • How to Build a Girl sounds really interesting! I’ve never read anything by Moran either, but after reading that synopsis I want to. I also want to read Roxane Gay’s book of essays. I recently read An Untamed State and did a video review on it because I thought it was fantastic.

  • I’m so excited for this book! I haven’t started yet, but I’m planning on reading the first section this weekend. I love that Caitlin Moran is actually aware of our little read-along. So cool!

    • I JUST started it like an hour ago and it’s great so far. I can’t wait to see everyone’s posts on Monday!

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