By: HarperCollins Pub.
First of all, can we just talk about the lovely little dedication the author puts in this book?:
To my mother and father, who thankfully are nothing like the parents in this book, and let me build my girl how I wanted.
This is lovely. Moving forward!
Johanna Morrigan is a fourteen-year-old girl living in low-income housing with her family – and it’s a big family living on welfare cheques. It’s difficult and stressful. In this book although the teenager is trying very hard to be somebody she doesn’t quite figure out who that is she wants to be – what teenager really does?
Needless to say she has found her passion in writing, and after making a fool of herself on local television she hides away in her room listening to music she had purchased from the library. Thus where, more or less, the story really begins.
At this young age, Johanna is given the opportunity to work for a well-known music publication company. She reviews indie music. Originally presenting herself as a naive, musical loving child, she quickly realized that that personality wasn’t going to fly in this London crowd. Thus birthing Dolly Wilde, a woman with a deep and dark, yet sexually-driven personality, with quick comebacks and cunning remarks to awe the crowd.
Johanna, being at her prime of sexuality with a drive for seeking passion became a girl who “got around”, and took her stories back to the D&ME office. She had bragging rights and everybody knew it.
I really enjoyed this book for the simple reason it’s about a young girl who deals with so many issues, including weight and family discontent, and how she finds herself, even after dropping out of school to succeed in the writing industry. Johanna could be considered an inspiring female protagonist – once you look past her party-person type of experimenting with drugs, her constant need for alcohol in her bloodstream and a cigarette in her mouth. But she started as a blank slate. She was constantly morphing herself – at the beginning – to be everybody else’s ideal, but later realized that she was not happy. That, like, the threesome she initiated and later halted, everything is in her control. Realizing what makes her happy and what she wants is what will make her her.
How to Build a Girl is about a girl who goes through growing pains in the UK in the ’90’s. Some people might even be able to relate to her, I know I found comfort in some of her problems, and shockingly enough there are some inspiring-ish things thrown in for good measure.
Let me know if you’ve read this book or Caitlin Moran’s other book How to be a Woman.