I'm aware that many women have already read this book so I apologise if I'm not bring a new book to your attention, however, I wanted to review Caitlin Moran's How To Be a Woman for a few reasons; firstly my friend gave the book to me and asked for my opinions (her's were mixed) and secondly, there are funny moments on the pages and after recent books I've read and written short and sweet book reviews about I'd forgotten how good it was to read something that tickled your laughing muscles into a guffaw or two.
What's it all about? Caitlin Moran is a British journalist who has had an interesting career which began as a writer for weekly music magazine Melody Maker aged 16 and the ten years that followed appeared to involve an ill-fated TV show, copious amounts of drugs and more than her fair share of Brit Pop conquests. How to be a Woman covers this almost flippantly and half-proudly as her life is the backdrop to this book which discusses key milestones in a woman's life (in the developed world, at least) - getting boobs, finding out about self-pleasure, going out with a w*nker and dealing with sexism in the workplace.
What's so good about it? It's funny, it's honest, it's observant and there are a few precious but scattered enlightening and truly intelligent moments. However, I wasn't surprised to read in the Postscript that the book was written in a matter of months and I have to say as much as she thanks her editor, more could have been done to avoid lazy instances of repetition and to ensure consistency (not that I suggest that everything I've written on this blog achieves this - but then I don't have a professional editor glancing over my shoulder). The book's title is a more than a little misleading (this is no How To Guide!) considering that it begins as a part-romp, part-rant through her bizarre yet amusing childhood as one of seven siblings and it was a little underwhelming and frustrating that the most edifying comments were made in the last few chapters (strangely about childbirth, Lady Gaga and abortion - all separately I should add) but the book is still worth reading even if only for the laugh out loud moments and the occasional tender insight into her role as a mother and wife.
Who, me? Of course, it's clear who this book is targeted at; women. And I must say that it is an oversight that she particularly has the British woman in mind with several cultural references that only Brits would understand. However, I did read out several sentences of the book to NewMan (my Aussie boyfriend who feigns passionate disinterest in women's affairs/rants) who genuinely chuckled along and I really don't think it would do men any harm to pick this book up, gloss over the bit where she talks about wearing her Mum's knickers and soak up some of the more insightful observations she makes about women in porn, post-modernist feminism and female role models.
Read more book reviews here and do let me know what you're reading these days as my Kindle is due an update or two...
(Please note any links to Amazon are through my Amazon Associates account, which means I make a little money (less than 5%) from any purchases made after clicking through these links. Thank you, please.)
Frances M. Thompson
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