How to Build a Girl

How to Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran (Ebury Press, 2014)

Introduced by Michael Evans

You may recognise Caitlin Moran for her hit TV show Raised By Wolves, or her columns in The Times, and if you know anything about Caitlin Moran, you will know that she is many things. This includes witty, honest, hilariously crude, and biting. If these are things you like in Caitlin Moran, or in general, then this book will certainly not disappoint.

Teenager Johanna Morrigan is a quirky and ambitious working-class girl, living with many siblings, an unemployed father who is desperate to follow his dreams of making it as a musician, and a stressed mother. After shaming herself on television, Johanna decides that enough is enough, and starts to educate herself on the principles of music. Soon enough, she lands herself a job writing a column at a successful music magazine, under an alter-ego, Dolly Wilde. But as the cracks start to show in Johanna’s dream life, will she ever be able to put the torn ends of her life back together?

This book, funny, raw, and unflinchingly honest, is guaranteed to please any Caitlin Moran fan, and anyone who is in the mood for a trip down to the wild side, with a lot of laughs along the way.

I first heard this book on audio, with brilliant narration from Louise Brealey, and I was in stitches. It is rare for me to actually laugh out loud due to a book, but this book deserves a prize for that. Apart from the main story itself, the situations that the main character gets herself into, and her knack of saying inappropriate things at inappropriate times, is side-split-tingly funny.

This book, based much on Moran’s life, paints a brilliant portrayal of the struggles of living in a working class family, in a time where little sympathy was given to their hardship, as well as honestly portraying the music industry, and teenage life in general.

As a disclaimer, this book has an age rating for good reason. It is definitely not suitable for children or the faint hearted, with swearing and sexual references dotted throughout, but if you are able to read things of that sort, then you are in for a treat.

Happy Reading. 


Michael Evans is a student at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford.

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