Monday, 28 July 2014

How To Build a Girl: Part 3

How To Build a Girl
Caitlin Moran

Readalong hosted by the awesome Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads!)

'I am on the last train home, being trouble.'

I may go so far as to say that this third part has been my favourite section of the book to date. It's full of lols, wow-moments, 'yes, Moran' moments, and some pretty deep moments. Basically everything you ever wanted and could ever hope for from a Caitlin Moran novel. 

Part three starts with Johanna experiencing flying for the first time. There is much excitement and this:

'I am getting incredibly high on a single, astounding fact: that it's always sunny above the clouds. Always. That every day on earth - every day I have ever had - was secretly sunny, after all.'

For some reason that bit made me feel unbelievably happy (almost as happy as Johanna). I've flown a fair few times, but as much as I always take sneaky pictures of the clouds, it's never occurred to me that the sun is there. It just is. Three cheers for learning new ways of looking at the world.

Anyway, the main element that stuck out for me in this part is John Kite. Not only does he have a cool name, he is also the rock star that I always dreamed of as a teenager when I spent hours mooning over singers and bassists and drummers from all manner of emo bands. Sexy, yet intellectual. But is he? That, for now, still remains to be seen. There is a slightly dodgy age difference going on here but he says the cutest stuff and I just like him (don't you dare hurt her, Kite, else I'm coming for you).

'John. He was not a beautiful boy, nor a tall one. He was round, like a barrel, in a shabby brown suit - and his hair was neither one colour nor the other.'

'John Kite was the first person I'd ever met who made me feel normal.'

Their night together is just perfect (even him peeing as she dozes in the bath).

I've finally decided I do not like her Dad much, though. When she carries a 'gift-wrapped' Guinness all the way back from Dublin for him and all he can say is 'Christ. That's flat', I just wanted to punch him and tell him that nobody treats Johanna like that. So yeh, we're officially over.

And then the worst happens, the thing that Johanna basically developed an anxiety disorder worrying about: their benefits are cut.

'The truth is, when you are very poor, that 11 percent bites into the very bones of your existence. Eleven percent less means choosing between electricity and food - electricity and food that is already rationed, and fretted over. Eleven percent is not very much - but, when you are very poor, it may form the bedrock of your survival.'

I can't seem to properly process all the class elements in this section, but my goodness are they powerful, eye-opening and sad.

And then John Kite says this and we all love him that little bit more:

'You must never, never forget when you talk to someone poor, that it takes ten times the effort to get anywhere from a bad postcode. It's a miracle when someone tom a bad postcode gets anywhere, son. A miracle they do anything at all.'

There is a lot in these chapters, too much to fit into one post. Before wrapping up though, I'd like to do a quick shout out to a few standout moments, in bullet form:
  • Johanna drinking Mad Dog
  • Johanna considering why smoking is useful in awkward social situations and coming up with the same answers I always have (and that would persuade me if I wasn't so anti-smoking)
  • Satanwankgate
  • Krissi being Krissi and therefore being awesome
  • Johanna at the industry party doing some seriously cringey stuff but still managing to get through it with her reputation intact
Part 3 was awesome, can part 4 possibly get any better?

You can pre-order the book from The Odyssey Bookshop here (US), or buy it from Foyles here (UK).



  1. I think it's a rite of passage to fall head over heels for a rockstar as a teenage girl. I'm still sitting here with my fingers crossed hoping that he is as decent as he appears and they become the best of friends. The end. Story over.

    I have had those same "smoking is so useful" conversations in my head but as soon as I get within 10 feet of a smoker I start gagging at the smell. So I shall keep my health and remain awkward in social situations. but at least now I have Johanna's buffet fake friend trick!

  2. Hahaha satanwankgate. Yes, excellent. Krissi would approve of the name.

    I'm impressed Johanna made it through that party so unscathed when there were lots of opportunities for embarrassment on the Scooby-Doo level.

  3. We literally used the same two quotes in the same order. Hello brain twin. :)

    And yes, my heart broke the way her dad responded to the Guinness delivered with love.


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