How to Build a Girl

  • by Caitlin Moran
  • Narrated by Louise Brealey
  • 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

What do you do in your teenage years when you realize 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 Brontës - 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 realizes 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. How to Build a Girl is a funny, poignant, and heartbreakingly evocative story of self-discovery and invention, as only Caitlin Moran could tell it.


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Customer Reviews

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I loved this book.
"How to Build a Girl" has it all. The character development, the relationship development, and the pace of the story are perfectly done.
The main character Dolly/Johanna is beautifully developed. I was completely invested in her, in every decision she made, and in everything she did. I rooted for her and cringed and held my breath and laughed out loud a lot.
The surprising, and best part of this book is how much I laughed, the writing is clever and really funny. As Johanna/Dolly developed I thought that the story would get more serious, as most funny movies go, they aren't funny by the end because all the problems get ironed out. But Moran's writing was so good, it was consistently interesting and clever right up until the end.
The ending was great, really great, and worthy of the rest of the book and how the characters were developed.
The couple things I would say as a review:
1. I wished it was longer. A couple moments felt overly edited, I'd wanted more color, description, follow-up that weren't there.
2. This is a very Rated R book. I was never offended, but I certainly gasped and cringed more than once. This book is gritty and raw and naughty which is part of what makes it great.

The narrator was great, she seemed perfect for the part, her accents and voices were perfect.

I highly recommend this book.
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- Marci

One great quote made it worthwhile

I did not feel compelled by this book until one long passage
towards the end about cynicism , which basically made all the hours of listening worthwhile. Very much so. Here is an excerpt;
" …it is a million times easier to be cynical and wield a sword, then it is to be open-hearted and stand there, holding a balloon and a birthday cake, with the infinite potential to look foolish… . I haven’t yet learned the simplest and most important thing of all: the world is difficult, and we are all breakable. So just be kind. "

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- Nicole "I love audiobooks."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-23-2014
  • Publisher: HarperAudio