Thank you Emily and Harper Collins for making this readalong possible and for those of you not currently taking part in the readalong, do you want to pre-order your own copy of the book? I mean, of course you do because you have been following along with these posts and see how good this is.
This section can best be summed up using Moran's own words from Moranthology: SEX WILL BE HAD!
But before then, we see Dolly's star is rising at the magazine when she realizes eviscerating bands is better than being a fan of them. She makes sure to only review bands that she hates because, as she learned after her John Kite piece, she has to be a reviewer and not a fan. She's spending half her time drunk on power and the other half of the time literally drunk.
But Johanna/Dolly's drinking is not causing a problem for her, which is nice to see the book not go to an extreme and go "Look she's drinking AND HER LIFE IS RUINED FOREVER BEWAAAAAAARE."
Before sex will be had, Dolly's first goal is to get kissed. Lucky for her Ali introducer her to The Kisser who can help her out, provided you don't care so much about who you're kissing. As she says:
The Kisser has done his job. I'm grateful for his services. If I needed sheep moving from one field to another, I would have called a shepherd. If I'd lost my wedding ring down the U-bend, I would have called a plumber. And as I needed my first kiss before I got another day older, I used the Kisser. I feel better now.Drunk on her first kiss and also on alcohol, Johanna returns home and talks with her dad, who is also drunk. He tells her about his childhood for a bit before coming up with the plan that Johanna will review his work in her magazine and then they will be millionaires. Johanna agrees to this, although the only thing she writes now are reviews taking bands down, so this is probably a bad strategy. But since she manages to avoid reviewing her dad's work, at least through the rest of this section, we don't have to worry about that just yet.
Time goes by, Johanna is still taking down artists, but she is spending what seems like an equal amount of time making out with Tony Rich and having sex with a bunch of people, in a section that totally does not shame her for this. Given this is Moran writing I would have been surprised otherwise, but it's still nice to see things be so sex positive. There is a moment when Johanna deals with the idea of being considered a slag and how unfair this is
The only way I can gain any qualifications at this thing - sex - that is seen as societally important and desirable, is by being a massive slag - which is not seen as societally important and desirable. This often makes be furious.
The remainder of the section is some funny awkward sex moments, including a mishap involving hot wax and some serious problems dealing with a guy who is a bit too well-endowed. While recovering from this trauma (requiring codeine, cranberry juice, and a lot of time in the bath) she talks with the member of a band who tells her that bands are afraid of her. When she assures him that he doesn't have to worry about a Dolly-review because she actually likes them, Rob asks her why she only reviews bands she hates. Johanna considers this and cynicism and why she decides to do this.
When other people being to bring their guns to the party, it's not a party anymore. It's a battle. Without realizing it, I have become a self-defeating mercenary in a pointless war. I'm shooting my own future.She figures she has plenty of time and can be nice later, but the ominously ends the section saying that she actually hasn't got plenty of time and DUN DUN DUUUUN.
IT WAS VERY HARD TO STOP AT THIS POINT. Until next time when we can finish the book and see what's going to happen (although I have assumptions cos really, it's clear Johanna = Caitlin).
Title quote from page 211
Moran, Caitlin. How To Build A Girl. Harper Collins, 2014.