I’ll level with you. I was struggling with old Huck and half-way through ended up cheating on him! To be fair, if you’re going to cheat on a classic novel with anyone, it seems apt that it be Caitlin Moran.
I’ll level with you again. The fact that she’s a fellow Midlander means I can totally relate to her ramblings about Wolverhampton. I’ve not just been there and bought the T-shirt. I’ve dodged the scary preacher person in Dudley Street, been flashed at by the man on the way to college, done the whole cap and gown graduation thing and endured a night out at the scariest nightclub I’ve ever been to – all in Wolverhampton. Ah, Wolverhampton, it’s a bit like that Uncle. They’re a bit odd; but you love them in spite of it.
Anyway, I digress. I read How To Be a Woman on the sunlounger on Honeymoon and got some strange looks from fellow pool goers as I sat there chortling to myself. Caitlin has this amazing talent where she can write about literally anything and make it entertaining, interesting, witty, funny and sometimes just downright bonkers – but at the same time there’s a cleverness to her writing. It’s not just silly for silly’s-sake.
With that in mind I can’t really write an objective review of this book, as I knew I was going to love it before I even cracked the spine, especially when the cover line is: “David Cameron resembles a camp gammon robot – a C-3PO made of ham…” What’s not to love?
I perhaps didn’t expect to love it as much I did. I adored her frank retellings of her late night whitterings to her husband. Something which I’m sure most women can attest to. I know I can. Her accounts of summer holidays offer a familiarity which many of us will resonate with. Admittedly some of the Sherlock references were a bit lost on me as I only caught one episode of it. But still, Caitlin writes about the topic in such a way that it doesn’t really matter that you don’t have the relevant a priori knowledge – it’s still just darn funny. I even found the chapter where she meets Paul McCartney amusing and I’m (whispers) really not a McCartney fan.
In one chapter Caitlin writes about her husband being unsure of what to say about her outfit before she heads off for a night out. The same evening I’d read that chapter I went to my Sister-in-Law’s house where she was showing my Father-in-Law and husband some new nail polish which she had received for her birthday. Looking at the varying shades of greige I could see their eyes glazing over, before a look of panic struck both of their faces. They were going to be expected to say something about this – but what? I did the gallant thing and jumped into to save them.
That’s the brilliant thing about this book. It’s a bit like watching Michael McIntyre or Peter Kay. The story begins and before you know it you’re nodding and thinking “I’ve done that”. Well, not with everything – I’ve never been out drinking with Lady GaGa for example. But even if you’ve not done the exact same thing you’ve probably done something equally eek-worthy which you can relate to the tale. Well worth a read.
Fabulous rating: 5/5