How to Build a Girl

Caitlin Moran (Author)


Soon to be a motion picture!

The New York Times bestselling author hailed as "the UK's answer to Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, and Lena Dunham all rolled into one" (Marie Claire) makes her fiction debut with a hilarious yet deeply moving coming of age novel.

What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn't enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes--and build yourself.

It's 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there's no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde--fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer--like Jo in Little Women, or the Bröntes--but without the dying young bit.

By sixteen, she's smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She's writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.

But what happens when Johanna realizes she's built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?

Imagine The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease. How to Build a Girl is a funny, poignant, and heartbreakingly evocative story of self-discovery and invention, as only Caitlin Moran could tell it.

Product Details

Price: $16.98  $15.62
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Published Date: June 30, 2015
Pages: 368
Dimensions: 5.3 X 0.9 X 8.0 inches | 0.6 pounds
Language: English
Type: Paperback
ISBN: 9780062335982
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Caitlin Moran was named Columnist of the Year by the British Press Awards in 2010 and Critic and Interviewer of the Year in 2011 for her work in the Times of London. Her debut book, How to Be a Woman, won the 2011 Galaxy Book of the Year Award and was an instant New York Times bestseller. How to Build a Girl is her first novel since the one she wrote at fourteen, which doesn't count. You can follow Caitlin on Twitter @CaitlinMoran.


"I have so much love for Caitlin Moran."--Lena Dunham
"I crammed every word down like Cinnabon!"--Joss Whedon
"Rowdy and fearless ... sloppy, big-hearted and alive in all the right ways.... Ms. Moran is often compared to Tina Fey and Lena Dunham, which is fair so far as it goes, though I'd add Amy Winehouse and the early Roseanne Barr to the mix."--Dwight Garner, New York Times
"Vivid and full of truths.... There's a point in midlife, when you're already built, as it were, when the average coming-of-age story starts to feel completely uninteresting. But Moran is so lively, dazzlingly insightful and fun that "How to Build a Girl" transcends any age restrictions."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Wonderfully wise and flat-out hilarious."--People, Book of the Week
"Very funny.... Moran never loses touch with what seemed to me an authentic and believable teenage voice.... The joy of this easy-read novel is not just the scrappy protagonist.... Moran makes strong statements about social inequality and gender throughout."--Ellah Allfrey, NPR's Fresh Air
"The earnestness with which Johanna goes about constructing a new persona gives the novel an almost irresistible verve, and the reader continues to root for her even during the most embarrassing episodes."--The New Yorker
"A smart, splendid, laugh-out-loud-funny novel."--Boston Globe
"A feminist coming-of-age tale.... Johanna is an irrepressible narrator, telling a mostly-true and funny tale of survival and success."--Joanna Scutts, Washington Post Book World
"Brilliantly observed, thrillingly rude and laugh-out-loud funny."--Helen Fielding, author of Mad About the Boy and Bridget Jones's Diary
"Binge-read all of How To Build a Girl in one sitting. Even missed supper. A first. Rose petals where 'ere you walk, Caitlin."--Nigella Lawson
"Rallying cries will always have a place in a yet-unfinished movement like feminism, but sometimes storytelling is more effective. The fictional Johanna Morrigan never drops the F-word, but readers can see she's asking all the right questions."--New York Times Book Review
"If anyone knows how to build a girl, it's Moran-she's put adolescence on the page in a book that's humming with authenticity."--NPR Best Book of the Year selection
"Very funny."--Megan Gibson, Time
"A funny book, heartfelt, silly, profane, insightful.... This is human stuff, a smile or laugh in almost every sentence---ften a snort, giggle, or guffaw--and you learn a lot about how girls get built."--Philadelphia Inquirer
"Brash, biting, comic.... Less a novelistic rendering of Moran's particularly gritty and appealing brand of feminism than an incisive and yet entertaining assessment of class dynamics in post-Thatcher Britain."--Chloe Schama, New Republic
"A funny, filthy and ultimately touching coming-of-age story.... Raunchy, wry and thoughtful-much like its vivacious heroine."--Minneapolis Star Tribune