How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

Where to start.  Right, I bought it for the cover.  I just couldn’t help myself, there she was staring straight at me from the cover, a stroppy woman, I could tell, I knew I’d like her.  As I launched myself at this book, snorting with laughter by the end of page 1 or possibly 2, I knew I had spent my money wisely.  It is an account of the life so far of the very untraditionally raised Caitlin Moran, growing up in very un-wellheeled circumstances, in a council house in Wolverhampton in England, taking care of five younger siblings, running away from bullies, having nothing to wear – actually nothing, and maintaining a good sense of humour.

She headed out to work at the age of 15, and it’s been a whirlwind since then.  She worked in the coolest job someone like I could have imagined when I was a kid, working for a music magazine.  She had a miserable relationship with a bloke and came out the otherside thinking hard about her girly bits and how easily abused they are and became a kind of feminist.  But don’t read this book if you are looking for the new feminist treatise, read this book as a kind of British Tina Fey, witty, funny, and full of good ideas, with stuff to say on modern culture and our obsessions and written in a really accesible and amusing way.  This is basically a look back a her diary over the years, lots of juicy bits, and a bit of a fright from time to time.

She writes hilariously about getting her first period. Her need for a bra.  Her discovering that the love of her life was sitting right behind her every day at work.  She is also very very good on the culture of celebrity, I just adored her comments on Rhianna.  Her outing with Lady Gaga was hilarious.  Her comments on how we are simultaneously titivated by and yet horrified by the invasion into the personal lives of women celebrities, who have allowed us into their world but by doing that have made their lives miserable and us so judging of them I found resonated with me.

Other chapters deal with abortion, the terror of being a parent and marriage were great.  This is a laugh of a book, not all the way, but huge chunks of it.  I’m sorely tempted to buy a copy for each of my girls.  Read it for her interesting views on modern women, read it because it is a hell of a fun ride, and read it because Caitlin Moran has written a book for women right now.

But, there are the fashion rules – I loved her shoe advice.  What you need in your handbag, given I have finally purchased one.  On fashion, Leopardskin is a neutral, You can get away with nearly anything if you wear the thing with black opaque tights and boots.  3.  Contrary to popular opinion a belt is often not a good friend to a lady … 4. Bright red is a neutral.  ….  There are more but these ones particularly work for me!  Thanks Caitlin, you’ve confirmed what I thought.

Want to read a great interview with her?  Diana Wichtel wrote this for the Listener.  And this one is Kim Hill talking to her on Radio New Zealand.



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