Monday, August 11, 2014

I have to die - again. And again, the thought makes me very cheerful

This is it. The last How To Build A Girl post. I'm so sad to be leaving Johanna and our group but I'm also SO HAPPY I didn't have to force myself to stop reading this time. I could just race to the end. And it was lovely.
Thank you again Emily for hosting this readalong and Harper for giving her the opportunity and us the books. AND if you haven't already (which is silly, of course you have) pre-ordered the book, you can do that through this link right here. And support an indie bookstore, which of course you want to do.

One more detail. I have managed to catch a summer cold cos awesome. So if this post will likely make less sense than normal considering cold meds and general cold-fuzziness. Enjoy.

Now, to part 3

I was very happy the last section's message about sex wasn't all
I didn't actually think it would be, but after a lot of the comments that were going around last week I thought maaaaaaaybe I'd be wrong and Moran would bust out something about pregnancy or STD or whatnot. Which I mean, yes, are actual consequences of sex and things that do need to be taken seriously but I was SO SO happy it didn't come up and all of Johanna's sexy time didn't become some big warning that if you have sex you will get pregnant/get chlamydia and you will die.

I was also very happy to see that by the end when Johanna decides to drop some aspects of Dolly but keep other than the drinking and the sex made it on the keep list. Again because while these activities do have consequences and some of them serious that does not mean that need to be given up and hooray to Moran again.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Section 2 ended with Johanna realizing the problems with being so mean. But of course, change doesn't happen right away and she eventually finds that she's insulted about half of the indie rock scene. That certainly makes going to shows awkward and ends with her getting a drink thrown at her. Which leads to her doing speed in the bathroom with the other guys from the magazine. See what meanness gets you?

Then, because things have to continue to get worse before they get better, Johanna has some less-than-fun sex with Tony Rich. First is the light S&M that causes her more pain than fun because Tony Rich hasn't read up on the S&M rules and tips, like not smacking the same place twice. Then she starts questioning what Tony is to her. She thinks he might be falling in love with her but isn't really sure how to find out. I mean, you can't just ASK
Why people are white or in love. Both off-limits
Tony invites her to his parents' for the weekend, along with a bunch of friends so way to go with the mixed signals. Signals get clear later when it turns out Tony Rich is in love with an ex-girlfriend he also invited for the weekend. He's been having random sex with this girl and figured it wasn't a problem with Johanna considering all of her sexual adventuring. Which, honestly, isn't all that unreasonable. But of course this doesn't hurt Johanna less and in order to try to win her way back to top position, Johanna suggests a threesome.

Things do not go well. First, while getting ready for the threesome she overhears Tony's friends referring to her as his "bit of rough". THEN, after forcing herself to be OK with this, she goes down to find out they've started the threesome without her. But Johanna finally gets angry. She's not going to make herself OK with this.
And she realizes while she was worried if Tony was in love with her, she wasn't all that concerned with how she felt about him. What she decides is she wants to be with John Kite.

I'm so so happy Kite ended up being wonderful. I know we were all worried where that would go so hooray for Kite being wonderful and a real friend. Of course things are still not done being terrible for Johanna. While the two of them are very drunk at a zoo, she tells Kite that they have to have sex. She's worried she's ruined everything and Kite won't want to ever see her again after making that suggestion. She reads her latest review tearing apart a band and feels horrible about it. She doesn't know what to do and just knows her experiment as Dolly isn't making her happy and she starts cutting. Or really goes through one night of cutting herself and that is not to say it's not a serious thing but at least it isn't on-going.

At least she has Krissi to talk her out of this and almost necessitate the amputation of her arm but you know, details. This also prompts Johanna to remake herself again.

She stops hanging out with the old D&ME folks. She makes up with John Kite (who doesn't remember her proposition and tells her right now she's too young for him but maybe in the future), she gets her own place in London, good things.
Oh, and she finds out why the family's benefits got cut. It was her fault for leaving school early. She left school early to try to make enough money to help save the family and instead is the reason things got cut. I'm not quite sure why they didn't tell her (and tell her "HEY go back to school so we can get those back" but perhaps that wasn't an option) but there you go.

Things are looking good for Johanna. Not perfect. It's not like things are rainbows and stardust for her and her family, but they're definitely moving in the right direction. And so we leave Johanna as she starts her new, less-cynical life in London.

This book was wonderful. It was so fun and full of so much that teen girls aren't told enough. I don't think this book is going to make it on any school reading lists anytime soon, what with all of the sex and the wanking, but it should definitely be on recommended reading lists. Well, well done Moran.

Title quote from page 301

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