Caitlin Moran – How To Build a Girl

Lessons I’ve learned from reading this book: Always listen to your best friend when she tells you a book isn’t that good.

I’d heard really good things about this book, it won reviews and people on Twitter were raving about it. But then my best friend Abi read it and didn’t particularly enjoy it, so I should have known that maybe the book wasn’t going to live up to the hype. Especially since Abi’s taste in books is usually bang on.

I found the book very pretentious, and the way it was written made it very hard to imagine that the main character was only a teenager. The language used and the thoughts that this girl was supposedly having just seemed too mature for her age. The book felt to me more like the author was projecting her own feelings and the way she wished she could have acted growing up onto this young character. Maybe I was just very naive as a teenager, but I definitely never acted even 10% as wild as Johanna.

Due to this, I could feel absolutely no empathy with the character, and when you feel no connection with the main character of a book, it becomes very hard to keep picking up the book to read it. Hence why it took over 2 weeks to read. I didn’t like the character and that made me feel no compunction to want to keep reading. Take something like Divergent or The Paper Magician series, and the young female characters are so well written that you can’t help but read more to find out what’s in their future, but I just couldn’t feel this for poor Johanna.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. After all, the book won awards. But when I get a young female character as the lead in a book, I like her to have something about her. And all Johanna seemed to have was a desire to have sex with every man she met. And even these scenes are not written like other books of this kind that I’ve read. She’s still a teenager, but the way she describes her encounters with these men is vulgar at best, degrading and unnecessary at worst.

I don’t really want to write too much more now, as I feel like I’m a little bit ranty this morning, and I could probably go on for hours. Instead, I think I’ll pick up my next book, which I hope will be much more entertaining.


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