How To Build a Girl Read-Along – Part 3

July 28, 2014 Blogger Events 6

caitlin moranWe’re up to chapter 15 in our read-along this week, so be warned – spoilers below! What surprised me most about this section was how beautifully sentimental some of the quotes were. Especially at the beginning of the section, I really enjoyed how happy Johanna was and how much fun she had traveling. I was a briefly heartbroken for her when she stopped hearing from the magazine, but finished the section feeling reasonably hopeful. I mean, I’m sure she’s going to get herself into a bad situation the way she’s going. I also think her coworkers probably think she’s completely ridiculous. But she’s having fun again and exploring who she is and I’m excited to go along for the ride.

This is probably silly since this is a work of fiction, but I was expecting a profound message from this book, something about feminism. I’m starting to think that won’t be the case. That’s a bit disappointing, but not too much because I’m simultaneously becoming more impressed with Moran’s storytelling ability. From some of the other participants’ comments, it’s possible this is because I haven’t read Moranthology. At least for me, just having read How To Be a Woman, the story is much more novel to me than it was at the beginning and I’m excited to see how it plays out.

This read-along is being hosted by Emily at As the Crow Flies (And Reads) so you can check out what the other participants are thinking so far at her link-up.

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6 Responses to “How To Build a Girl Read-Along – Part 3”

  1. Kayleigh M

    I sort of have a feeling the feminist-y bits will come together once we get to the end of Johanna’s story. As it is there are little hints of it already, but I think once the story is all in place it’ll be like one of those magic eye pictures when suddenly you go “oh!”

    Although, I think since Caitlin has a reputation for being a loud feminist anything that isn’t deliberately signposted might seem almost unnoticeable. Or perhaps she’s stepping back from telling a feminist story, to more of a “this is life as a girl growing up in a poor family” story which will obviously involve feminism, but also have a lot of politics, class discussion and other bits and bobs too.

    • DoingDewey

      I expect you’re right and I love the comparison! I think you’re right about Caitlin’s reputation, and probably my experience with How To Be a Woman as well, influencing my expectations. This is definitely going to be more subtle than that!

  2. Sarah @ Sarah Says Read

    She had her moments of feminist commentary when she first started talking about music, but it does seem that this novel is slanting more towards a “coming-of-age” type deal.

    • DoingDewey

      That’s true and that was actually one of my favorite parts so far, not because it was a feminist bit but because it made me feel as though Johanna was pursuing her own interests and that made me like her better 🙂

  3. Emily Crowe

    Yeah, I think it goes with what Kayleigh said. It’s almost the difference between writing fiction and non fiction. With non fiction, you need an agenda, or at least a solid POV from which to present your message . But with fiction, it’s at its best when the messages serves the story, not when the story serves the message.

    • DoingDewey

      That’s a great point! For all that I expected strident feminism based on my experience with How To Be a Woman, I think it’s better that the story be the priority in a work of fiction.

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