Sunday, August 31, 2014

Review of "How to build a girl"

Caitlin Moran was brought up on a council estate in Wolverhampton. She
became a journalist on the Times, probably the poshest newspaper in the
world, at the age of 18. Consequently she works alongside a fair
sprinkling of the upper class public school boys who have all the
positions of power in the country. She is unique in thinking Michael
Gove is not a waste of space. Her reason for this, however, was that he
knew the name of the hamster Freddie Starr was alleged to have eaten!
(Teachers believe it is a pity he didn't know anything about education).

The title is a postmodern reference to the idea of constructing and
reconstructing the personality. What is different about this book is
that the idea is for the first time rooted in the realities of class
society. It is indicative of Caitlin Moran's style that the difficulties
of masturbating while sharing a bed with a sibling feature as an example.

A book which deals with the effects of poverty while growing up in
Wolverhampton and the cruelty of the benefits system sounds like a
"worthy" book which socialists would read out of a sense of duty rather
than an expectation that they will enjoy it. *This is not that book!*

The narrative veers between pathos and hilarity. You will recognise the
bitter anger against the treatment of the poor one minute and be
laughing your socks off the next.

It is an "adult" book. This means that teenagers will love it and some
adults will think it is totally unsuitable for teenagers to read.

I leave that judgement to you. Just read this book. You will be hooked
after the first few pages.

Derek McMillan


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