This is not going to be a review for two reasons. One, I am utterly appalling at writing reviews. Ask anyone. Except you can’t, because no one’s ever read a review by me. Because they are crap. And two, I am obsessed with Caitlin Moran. I have nothing bad to say. And as we all know, a positive review is a boring one. We all (hopefully) saw my raving and, frankly, worrying post about Lena Dunham a few months back and this kind of sort of links to that.
Ever since I saw a friend reading ‘How To Be a Woman’ in my Creative Writing class last year, I think I was doomed. I was doomed to fall in love with Caitlin Moran. Not in a weird way. Well, maybe a bit. But I saw the book, asked what it was about, bought my own copy and the rest is history. If history was a 18 year old girl who’s read certain books a few times too many. What can I say? She’s funny, she’s clever, she’s original, she’s cool. You all might be thinking of a girl at school or the girl you fancy but no. I’m talking about Caitlin Moran. And I’m aware of how much of a creepy stalker/fan-girl I sound, but let me explain myself.
When I read things like How to Build a Girl and Moranifesto and watch shows like Girls, I feel at home. That is to say, I think I’ve found my niche. A rare subspecies of women that I’ve never come across before in my town of conservative nobodies and chav violence. These are the girls I’ve always seen myself to be, or wanted to be. In reality, I’m much less cool and rich and famous and frankly, I’m too boring. But if I tried – like really tried – I could be them. Right?
What I mean by “my niche” is simply this: The Girls.
The girls who get a little too TMI over lunch with friends, who revel in a slutty dress every once in a while, who want to hear the dirty details of every story, who get worked up over men when they just won’t shut the hell up and who are just… a bit odd. The ones who write away their sorrows (or desperately want to) and just want to be listened to. The girls who wear too much eyeliner and don’t match their clothes and are just gagging for cool stories to tell over cocktails twenty years from now.That’s me. The me I want to be. Young Jess never wanted a normal boring life, she wanted the life of these women, from the very start. Never wanted kids, or to marry. Never wanted a big beautiful house in the suburbs. She wanted dirt and grit and funny stories and New York and London and writing. I wish I was exaggerating.
So, forgive me for getting worked up and excited over these women. It’s a tad weird and a bit over-the-top and honestly just a bit unflattering. But I’ve waited my whole life to be told that it’s okay to be a little over-sharing, and it’s not just something I’ll grow out of. That these women have grown up like me and stuck it out. They’ve put up with parents and school and friends and things like cystitis and figuring out how a condom works and what the best deodorant is. They’ve done the big things that earn awards, and the small things that no one cares to talk about. And they do talk about it. They put it all down on paper for the girls like me to read and laugh their heads off, holed up in their rooms with the covers over our heads, knowing there’s school in the morning but not caring, because if they turned out fine, I will too.
These girls make me feel okay to be me. To be nosey and bad at writing sometimes. To make stupid mistakes and teach me to grow from them. They teach me that sometimes, it’s okay to go a bit psycho. It’s okay to be from a small town, a poor family, a broken one. It’s okay to be sad, but it’s also okay to get help. To write away my feelings and never ever take any shit. It’s okay to be a girl in this man’s world. But it’s not okay to let it slide. Because being a girl is the most bad-ass thing I could possibly be. That I should be proud of that, and fight for my side.
So if you want to know why I love Caitlin Moran so much, just pick up the book. You’ll see.