By LUCY KIPPIST
If it wasn’t for Caitlin Moran I’d never have remembered the sheer anguish of being 14. Head in the clouds, obsessed with Indie music and desperate to fall in love. Well, that’s the tidy summary. The REALLY great stuff about her latest book, “How To Build A Girl” lies between the story line, which goes something like this…
Johanna Morrigan is the hero of this book. At 14 she’s growing up on a council estate in a place called Wolverhampton. She’ s completely obsessed with losing her virginity but feels invisible to the opposite sex.
Her father’s main occupation is drinking, mourning the loss of his failed music career and coming up with up with creative ways to keep the family welfare payments going, while her poor mother struggles with raising a set of unexpected twins and suffering from post natal depression. Big brother Krissi is coming to terms with his homosexuality and little brother Lupin is just plain cute.
Reading and writing are Johanna’s escape mechanisms and just like her heroine Jo March from Little Women, will eventually become her ticket to freedom. Not content to spend any more time dreaming her way out of grim surroundings, Johanna throws herself at life – dignity and delicacy be damned – and embarks on a epic transformation. Rebuilding herself from awkward teen to ‘lady sex adventurer’/rock music journalist extraordinaire.
Need more reasons to read this book?
1. Author Caitlin Moran told BBC Newsnight she wrote the book ‘in a fury’ right after reading “Fifty Shades of Grey”.”I mean a young virgin who meets an older rich man who says if you repeatedly let me spank you over the bum with a hairbrush i’ll give you an iPad and let you fly my helicopter! I mean. This can not BE IT for female sexuality. I wanted to write something that was funny, dirty and true.”
2. Sheer nostalgia! Moran’s depictions of falling in un-requited and awkward love for the very first time; dancing in your bedroom to music that is quite literally YOUR life as a teenager and the magic of friendships that make your heart stop are unsurpassed. So real to life and breathtakingly fragile you can almost touch them.
3. Sex. Sex. Sex. And drugs. And rock ‘n’ roll. Nothing is out of bounds in this book.
Are you a fan of Caitlin Moran? What book is on your bedside table right now?