Monday, July 14, 2014

I wish I was Bill Murray. I hope everything I've read about evolution is wrong, and I eventually evolve into him.

Here we are at the first real post of the How To Build A Girl readalong. Well, the last post was real. It wasn't a fake post. But this is the first one about the book so yeah. Real-er.

Thank you Emily for hosting this readalong. It's already super fun. For those of you who don't get to readalong GUESS WHAT! You could always pre-order the book right here. Isn't that neat? You should probably get on that.

Also as this is a readalong there will be spoilers. You've be warned.

I'm also going to warn you that last week was NUTS, what with getting back from the west coast, work being insane, and we're in the home stretch for that whole wedding thing. What I'm saying is, be prepared for a lot of rambling and things to not make a lot of sense. I'm sorry in advance.

Even if I didn't know Caitlin Moran wrote this book, I'm pretty sure after the first section I could have guessed it. That's not a bad thing. She has a definite style with her writing and well guess what, this book in is in her style. Go figure. 

Not only the style thing, but since I've read both How To Be A Woman and Moranthology, there are similarities between young Johanna Morrigan and young Caitlin Moran. Which I realize she has acknowledged...somewhere. I've definitely read somewhere this book is vaguely autobiographical except now I can't remember where. See my apology above.

Anyway, this starts with a fourteen year old Johanna masturbating while her six year old brother sleeps near by, because why not.
But no really, it's not that creepy or sketchy or Law and Order: SVU-y at all. It's just sort of, this is something teens do and sometime teens are gross. But look, her brother would WANT her to be happy. So.

This section is really introduction, setting things up for the rest of the book. I assume. Cos really everything that happens in this first part feels like it's summed up on the back cover.

There are some troubles at home. The family seems mostly happy and to love each other, but given her dad disappearing for days on end, sporadically returning with someone in the record biz so he can share his demo and get rich and famous, and her mom is suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of the twins David and Mavid (they haven't been named yet) and isn't all there at the moment, I mean, things could be worse but they could also be better. Given the dad's demo which seems to be a12-minute avante-garde song complete with robot noises,
I'm not going to expect that record exec to turn things around anytime soon.

But really things are set in motion when Johanna goes to visit an old woman in the neighborhood whom she hangs out with/eats all of her cookies and accidentally mentions that her father collects disability. Well she doesn't accidentally mention but the woman comments about how Joanna's dad is working on the car and doing other non-disabled-looking things and shit. What if Violet tells on her family and then they don't get the money and listen, that robot song isn't going anywhere so they need that money.

I know this is a serious situation and all, but how great his her prayer?
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I haven't believed in you lately and I hope you don't take that personally, but as you are probably already aware, given your monitoring system, which I imagine to be comprehensive, things are quite bad here, and I want to offer you a deal. If you make it so that they don't take our benefits away, I will...Jesus. If you get us out of this -- like, really totally clear this up -- I promise I will not wank for 6 months...A month. Definitely a month. I will not touch myself for a month. Not even idly whilst in the bath. Not even after looking at the picture of two hippies doing oral sex in the Whole Earth catalogue, where you can see him put his fingers inside. This will be my holy sacrifice to you, oh Lord...I'm going to say 'Amen' now. This is a deal now. We are square on this. You will sort this out. Violet will not rat on us. Amen

I mean, how can you NOT love Johanna? I pretty much picture her as a British Tina
Johanna is determined to save the family after failing to keep her deal with Jesus, but she did make it 9 whole days so, you know, kudos.

She stands watch hoping to intercept any letters about their benefits before the rest of the family can see, while at the same time trying to figure out how to get money. Which eventually leads her to a poetry contest which she wins! Hooray! The theme is friendship and she writes a poem about her dog and it's sweet and the prize is £250* and a chance to read the poem on live TV. Live TV always goes well!

She sort of gets flustered and starts talking in the Scooby-Doo voice about how much she loves her dog and things get awkward and people are now calling the family and making fun of them and yeah.

After this Johanna decides she has to die. That's how the section ends. I'd be more worried with an ending like that, except for the fact that while the first part has a lot of serious themes, it's fairly light and funny so I don't think she's actually going to kill herself. Also the back cover says she reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde, so I'm not worried.

Part 1 down, and was a success (as if there was any doubt...). Onto part 2!

*I had to Google how the hell to type the £ symbol for this post. See the work I put into this?? Do you see? (For those of you not in the UK [as I assume your keyboards have it] and also on a Mac who want to type it, it's option+3).

Title quote page 48

Moran, Caitlin. How To Build A Girl. Harper, 2014.