England, 1990. Johanna Morrigan is fourteen years old and belongs to a weird but nice family: her father lives with a disability check and hopes to get rich with his music (that maybe is not so good), her mother gave birth to a couple of twins (that adds up to the other children, Johanna, Krissi and Lupin) and is going through a period of depression.
Johanna is smart, loves music and books and has a talent for writing, but her character and appearance do not make her attractive for other people of her age. Her worst moment however is during a local television show, and from that time she decides to build herself again and become memorable.
How to build a girl? By changing the name, then orienting the musical taste and improving the appearance (hairs, make up and the way of dressing), and then by finding a job where the girl’s skill is appreciated. Johanna so becomes Dolly Wilde, who works for a musical magazine – and who writes reviews, hardcore smoker and open to any kind of sexual experience.
How to build a girl is a novel about the coming of age; it features an independent main character – even if I honestly do not share the most of her choices – who slowly becomes aware of the society around her and understands better how to fit in. Johanna has an original but realistic family, two parents who love her and want the best for her future e a bunch of complicated brothers.
The novel is overall nice, but I did not particularly like the main character – and the fact it’s difficult to relate weights on the whole reading experience – and the novel does not provide particular ideas or original choices in its development.
* How to build a girl by Caitlin Moran ★★☆☆☆½
*I read this book in english