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.
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.