The BookLook

The BookLook: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

by Gemma Pearson

Dear Caitlin Moran, I’d like to thank you. I knew you wouldn’t let me down.

The BookLook: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

I’d love to know where you were when you wrote what became the first page, and if, when you wrote it, you laughed as loud as I did.

In ‘How to build a girl’, you gave us Johanna. Through her, you showed people what it was like to be an awkward girl with dreams, growing up in the 80’s in a house where dinner consisted of a chapati, margarine and white rice.

If Johanna had gone to school, I feel sure that our teenage selves would have been friends; her dressing-gown-coat and jaunty miniature top hat sitting awkwardly alongside my un-brushed hair (i was trying to make dreadlocks) and oversized Lemonheads band t-shirt (no, I hadn’t heard of them either).

Instead of school, Johanna embarked on a career as a music journalist, spending her first pay packet on a second hand TV for her family. She reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde, thus becoming her own imaginary friend. Ironically, this comes from a girl who has a strong sense of ‘self’.

This, teamed with awkward crushes (e.g Gonzo from The Muppets), a slightly-alcoholic Dad and an obsession with musicals, all made me feel very fond her. Indeed, she’s a reminder of the challenges but also the pleasures of growing up completely clueless!

Thank you for building Johanna. She’s brilliant.

With affection,



You can grab your own copy of How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran in hard cover, kindle or kindle for iPad from Amazon.

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