• How to Build a Girl

  • By: Caitlin Moran
  • Narrated by: Louise Brealey
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 08-07-14
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.9 (8 ratings)

Regular price: $21.31

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Publisher's Summary

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.
It’s 1990.
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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Linfo2 on 06-13-16

Hard listening!

Hard work all through. Strange way to write a book but probably appeal to some people!! Definitely a different mind set to me though!! Listen to a sample before buying is my advice

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20 of 23 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Hazel on 10-25-17

Fly on the wall of a teenagers life.

Very good read the narration was excellent. Only criticism is the fowl language used and the repetitive sex references but l wont be marking it down for that ....maybe lm just more prudish than the average listener but it would have been good to know before hand about the language.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Vanessa on 09-30-14

Fabulous story I could relate to

Would you listen to How to Build a Girl again? Why?

I'd definitely listen to How to Build a Girl again because it was so well read by Louise Brealey. She did all the accents of each character so well and so consistently. I really felt I was there with Johanna as she went through her often agonising experiences of teenage life. Every minute of Caitlin Moran's story was delicious to listen to. Not once did I feel like fast forwarding through filler because there is none.

What other book might you compare How to Build a Girl to, and why?

I guess all the music references reminded me a bit of Hi Fidelity by Nick Hornby but this storyline is completely different.

What about Louise Brealey’s performance did you like?

I just fell in love with the main character, Johanna, who is telling the story. Louise Brealey's performance was so believable.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I wanted to hug the main character and tell her everything is going to be alright and that I totally understand what she is going through. I laughed for a good part of this book. So, so funny!

Any additional comments?

Highly recommend for anyone, particularly if you were a teen in the early 1990s and love indie rock. Everyone is mentioned from Courtney Love, Manic Street Preachers, NWA and the Smashing Pumpkins plus so many more. While you can't hear the music on the audiobook you can still feel it through the words. Plus this book is hilarious. Did I mention this book is super funny?

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By J. Mullens on 09-22-17


As usual, Caitlin Moran published a piece of brilliance. Hilarious and heartbreaking, it should be mandatory reading in high school. Couldn't put it down.

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