Katie's Reviews > How to Be a Woman

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
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's review
Sep 20, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: holla-for-the-ladies, humor, nonfiction, opinion, politics
Recommended for: Vicki
Read in September, 2012 — I own a copy

I really loved this. I could probably flip through and offer you a zillion awesome quotes that will make you giggle and think, but most online reviews have already done that. It's practically irresistible in the quotable way, which pretty much means I've gotten ahold of a good thing.

What I liked about it overall, is that even when Moran was saying things I disagreed with, she wrote the entire book to be conversational and fun, as opposed to chastising or saying, "THIS is a feminist! RIGHT HERE. Agree with it!" In that sense, her humor never felt . . . needy. It wasn't humor in that, "I'm making a joke, but really, you agree with me, right? You really should agree with me." Thank God. I hate desperate humor. I feel like if she said something to me in a conversation and my reply was, "Well, I don't know, I think xyz instead," she'd shrug, grin, and offer me a shot before we change the subject to our favorite sex scenes in movies.

Also, props for tricking me, Moran. When I got to the chapter, "Why You Should Have Children," I started to skim, and feel enraged. "Not this again," I thought. "I am so sick of this. I am so incredibly sick of being told that nothing - NOTHING - will change your life like a child does, that NOTHING will make you grow as a human being as much. It's so utterly untrue, and I am someone who wants children above anything else." I couldn't believe the book had turned. I was totally disappointed.

And then, duh. She articulated everything I thought while reading that chapter in the next one ("Why You Shouldn't Have Children"), way better than I could, and even more vehemently. And what a fantastic way to title it. Usually, conversations concerning, "Why You Shouldn't Have Children," revolve around, "Because you're too busy/you don't make enough money/you don't have a big enough house/you don't have a partner." The externals. But she frames it so brilliantly in the context of, " . . . Because you might have other things to DO. That fulfill you just as much, and contribute even more to the world. And you know what? WE NEED YOU."

Last, balls out for her honesty. And that's overall - it takes balls (sorry, maybe that's not "feminist") to say, "You know what? We HAVEN'T achieved a whole lot," and that women don't quite have their Gandhi, or their Copernicus. Or that we have fewer than men do. Although I still think a lot of it is just who got the most press, I appreciated her saying it. And I also appreciated the conclusion in that chapter about how after women's lib there was (and is) this sort of . . . holding period. The "now what?" I felt like she summed it up really well. And of course, her honesty about her abortion, both in terms of her feelings and the actual procedure, were necessary and appreciated by me as well. I definitely agree with whatever blurb I read that said this is a book necessary for this generation's women.
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