How to Build a (wickedly fierce) Girl, Caitlin Moran

“When God gives you no lemons – make nonmonade!”

Johanna Morrigan feels there is no point in being ‘Johanna’ anymore, and instead creates a new her: ‘Dolly Wilde’ (named after Oscar Wilde’s badass niece), becomes a writer and saves her family. But as her career and personal life begins to flourish, she realises ‘Dolly’ has some major flaws…


This was really quite an easy read. Moran’s writing style is in the first person, which allows the reader to get inside the main character and understand why she does various things. I particularly liked how it allowed the reader to sympathise with Johanna/Dolly. I think it was this style that captivated so much, and pushed me to keep reading.

With a character that has such a big presence as Johanna/Dolly I think its unsurprising that I started comparing myself to her; she’s confident, courageous, outspoken, fearless, her motto is “fake it ’till you make it” and she does just that. I am the opposite to her, but I think as a result I actually found it even more interesting to read. It’s especially great to have a novel with such an strikingly strong female character.

But I don’t think this is a book that I will read again soon. Firstly, I didn’t find the plot as interesting as I hoped. I feel Moran had the opportunity to do even more with her characters, had she wanted to. Secondly, it’s surprisingly rude – I didn’t expect it to be quite so blunt, but maybe that’s my mistaken preconceptions, rather than the writing, that made me dislike this?

I’m not entirely sure where I stand with this book – it’s less that I am on the fence with my thoughts but more that I have been split in two entirely. However, I did like the writing style, and definitely would like to read one of her non-fiction books in the future – she seems such an interesting, quirky and strong woman.


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