I have met Caitlin Moran twice: once in an official meet and greet and once when I accosted her outside Wagamama’s in Brighton-as a sort of dare by my friend Ben- as she waited for her family (who she promptly introduced me to as if we knew each other really well. They were all lovely, if slightly baffled.) I have enjoyed her writing and think that every teenage girl should be given a copy of How To Be A Woman, alongside We Should All Be Feminists by Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie and a complete boxset of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I borrowed this from the library, which I have no doubt Caitlin herself would approve of. It’s a big book and is mostly a collection of her columns, which is great for someone who enjoys her work, but not The Times’ paywall. Everything you’d expect is here: Bowie, Cumberbatch, life growing up in Wolverhampton. As a working class girl, I get where Caitlin Moran comes from; there are things that you experience in your childhood that are hard to articulate to those who have never experienced them.
There’s also politics, both in terms of past columns- her piece on the death of Thatcher is sublime and sums up exactly how me and those I know felt; the pieces about the refugee crisis are angry, passionate and despairing- and her ideas for how we could change the world (not exactly 100% serious, tbh.) But it did get me thinking about what I’d do if I was in charge of the world, which although I’m not 100% sure of what I’d do, is a good thing to think about.
Of course feminism is here too. From the serious issues such as FGM, to the frivolous (the ridiculousness of high heeled shoes), there’s something here whatever your strain of feminism is. Caitlin Moran acknowledges that feminism has its foibles, but suggests that instead of fighting, we should all stick together to fight inequality. The analogy of a patchwork quilt she uses is a useful one. If everyone takes a square, we’ll soon have something.
But it’s not all politics. There are also rants about printers, obituaries and laments about history, and the decline of Soho. There’s a good chance you’ll find something in here that strikes a chord.
Things that were problematic in past work are touched on here, although I’m not sure those who dislike the style of writing will be won over. But if you enjoyed Moranthology and Caitlin Moran’s work in general, you’ll enjoy this.