Monday, September 29, 2014
REVIEW: HOW TO BUILD A GIRL
The debut novel from English broadcaster Caitlin Moran is the coming of age story of 14 year old Johanna Morrigan, who lives with her family in a council house in Wolverhampton. After shaming herself on local television, she decides to re-invent herself as Dolly Wilde, music reviewer for a national music paper. This is the story of how she achieves her goals, grows up, and finally starts living her life.
For anyone who has been an adolescent girl, this book will strike a chord! Moran gives us an inside view of an adolescent girl's hopes, dreams and aspirations, and the impatience that goes with those lofty yearnings. When you’re 14 years old, you suddenly realize that life is passing you by. When will it be your turn to be in the spotlight? Your parents telling you that you have to grow into yourself doesn’t make sense, and so you try to hurry the process along. This is the basis of Moran’s book, and she captures the essence of the time and sensations exactly right.
Growing up in Britain in the Maggie Thatcher days in an industrial wasteland, with unemployment at an all-time high, and alcoholism on the rise, was not an easy time. This is the world of Johanna, her four siblings, her long-suffering mother trying to make ends meet, and her alcoholic, washed-up musician, on-the-dole father. But everyone had access to the local library where books and music tapes could be taken out at no cost. The story of Johanna, her struggles and determination to make a path for herself are brilliantly written and communicated to the reader. I laughed out loud while reading this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who has adolescent daughters and wishes to gain an insight into their lives, or people who love coming-of-age stories brilliantly written!
- Catherine McGratton