‘My name’s Johanna Morrigan. I’m fourteen, and I’ve just decided to kill myself.
I don’t really want to die, of course! I just need to kill the old me, and build a new girl. Dolly Wilde will be everything I want to be, and more! But as with all the best coming-of-age stories, it doesn’t exactly go to plan…’
I love Caitlin Moran – I love her style, I loved her non-fiction books, and I love her edgy, don’t-give-a-damn attitude, so I really really thought I would love this book. But..I didn’t. At all.
I found it to be crass, to be honest, and I’m someone who has quite a crass, lewd sense of humour generally. I just felt like the swearing and over-sexed characters were far too much in this book, it was gratuitous and unnecessary – for shock factor and to be deemed edgy more than anything else. I found myself cringing as I was reading – like I said, I’m no prude, but I just don’t feel like pages describing the pain of cystitis to be enjoyable reading.
I also found the characters very hard to like – Johanna thinks she’s far more intelligent than she is, and spends her time thinking about ‘fucking’ and how to get men / boys to be with her. Constantly. I thought the point of the book, and the character’s aim, was to become a music journalist so she could earn some money to help her family (a noble cause, admittedly) but that all felt almost secondary to her goal of having as much sex as possible, and it was tiresome. The other characters aren’t much better – they all seem terribly clichéd – the long suffering mother, the loutish father chasing a dream of stardom, the drugged and drunk music stars etc etc etc blah blah blah.
Maybe it’s just me..I’ve heard people raving about this book, people who think it’s genius and hilarious, and so edgy and daring…maybe it’s just not my type of book, or maybe I read it at the wrong time, but I really wasn’t impressed.
The book just didn’t have much depth, for me. I finished it because I don’t like to leave any book unfinished, but I was disappointed with it. I am currently reading the sequel, ‘How To Be Famous’ because I’ve heard it’s an improvement…that remains to be seen!
I rate ‘How To Build A Girl’ 2 out of 5 stars.