How to Build a Book

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran


I finished it in two goes, while on a plane. It was very readable however towards the end I was reading carelessly as I found the book, well, boring which may be surprising as there was quite a lot of action at all times.

The main character, Joanna, was very rich, ripe and detailed. She created this new personality for herself that was presented to the outside world and took this ‘new’ her on  wild adventures. In a way the writer presented the main character in the same way. I’m not sure if I’m making sense here but reading the book felt as if there were two layers of artificially created personality and we actually never met the real girl.

It was very diary-like, but not describing real events but events that were perhaps based in reality but ended up ballooned up out of proportions. Everyone went through the crazy hormonal phase as a teenager, trying to find who they are, doing stupid things etc but this felt unrealistic.

I found it also very predictable not maybe in a way of what will happen next but that something will happen – the story started on a real high and it just continued to create more and more unbelievable situations. You could basically expect another ‘disaster’ coming up in the next paragraph.

I admit that I knew nothing about the author but if this story is autobiographical it makes sense why I felt about the character that way. If Caitlin Moran indeed was writing about herself, she basically transformed herself into this character and then the character again created a new ‘improved’ over the top version of herself.

I’m not saying it couldn’t happen – truth is sometimes stranger than fiction – but it just felt too elaborate to be realistic. There was too much of thinking events through and highlighting the most fantastical bits. It’s like when you tell a story and it becomes better with time because you have time to perfect it? This book had double doses of this and then extra.

Also, every other character in this book would fit in IKEA flat-packed box.

I still plan to read Caitlin Moran’s other book How to be a Woman which is meant to be amazing. How to Build a Girl wasn’t my cup of tea though.

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