What do you do in your teenage years when you realise what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes - and build yourself.
Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde - fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer! She will save her poverty stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer - like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontes - but without the dying young bit.
By 16, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk, and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all the kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.
But what happens when Johanna realises she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?
Imagine The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease, with a soundtrack by My Bloody Valentine and Happy Mondays. As beautiful as it is funny, How To Build a Girl is a brilliant coming-of-age novel in DMs and ripped tights, that captures perfectly the terror and joy of trying to discover exactly who it is you are going to be.
Please note: This audiobook contains explicit language.
©2014 Caitlin Moran (P)2014 Random House Audiobooks
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"How to Build a Girl"
How to Build a Girl is a coming of age story with a difference. It's gritty, truthful, filthy, poignant and laugh-out-loud funny!! And sometimes all the same time!
I think this is the book I'll be recommending to all of my friends this year!
"Quite simply the story for any woman!"
One of the funniest, thrilling and most ostentatious stories, made all the better by having Louise Brealey read it to me. The characters came to live with her use of voices and I truly fell in love with Johanna/Dolly. An inspiration in novella.
While it was a good listen I expected more insight so on that score a little disappointed.
Narration was excellent throughout.
"Fantastic narration of highly entertaining story"
A supremely funny, filthy and clever book - and made one hundred per cent moreso by the flawless narration. Great stuff!
"Beautifully written and performed."
I love Caitlin's refreshing frankness but having read some of her other work there were moments of déjà vue.
The performance would be hard to top.
"Brutally raw and wonderfully obnoxious"
Not one to listen to with your Nan. Thoroughly enjoyed this. One of my favourite narrators.
"Picked up momentum in the second half"
I struggled to get into this at first, the protagonist being a troubled teenager from the Midlands wasn't something I could immediately relate to.
However, once she creates an alter ego the story picked up pace and interest, and by the end I was disappointed to say goodbye to both Johanna and Dolly.
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