01 November, 2012

Book Review: Moranthology by Caitlin Moran

‘In HOW TO BE A WOMAN, I was limited to a single topic: women. Their hair, their shoes and their crushes on Aslan from The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (which I KNOW to be universal).

‘However! In my new book MORANTHOLOGY – as the title suggests – I am set free to tackle THE REST OF THE WORLD: Ghostbusters, Twitter, caffeine, panic attacks, Michael Jackson’s memorial service, being a middle-class marijuana addict, Doctor Who, binge-drinking, Downton Abbey, pandas, my own tragically early death, and my repeated failure to get anyone to adopt the nickname I have chosen for myself: ‘Puffin’.

‘I go to a sex-club with Lady Gaga, cry on Paul McCartney’s guitar, get drunk with Kylie, appear on Richard & Judy as a gnome, climb into the TARDIS, sniff Sherlock Holmes’s pillows at 221b Baker Street, write Amy Winehouse’s obituary, turn up late to Downing Street for Gordon Brown, and am rudely snubbed at a garden party by David Cameron –although that’s probably because I called him ‘A C3PO made of ham’. Fair enough.

‘And, in my spare time – between hangovers - I rant about the welfare state, library closures and poverty; like a shit Dickens or Orwell, but with tits.’

I honestly don't think I could do justice to the feelings that were evoked during my reading of MORANTHOLOGY, in a mere review. The fact is, I very rarely read women's non-fiction, not to mention non-fiction that isn't about the craft of writing or literacy. However, Caitlin Moran piqued my interest. A British writer/voice/setting ALWAYS piques my interest. But, something about the varied subjects of Moran's essays, articles, reviews and interviews -Ghostbusters to Lady Gaga to the welfare state to vacationing and travel to the addiction of World of Warcraft- sounded like just what I needed to read.

There were several tales that I absolutely loved in MORANTHOLOGY, but so totally out of left field, my favorite ended up being the Keith Richards interview. One of my exes is a total classic rock fan. Hum the first bars of any Beatles song, and he knows it. He's the one who pegged the CSIs all had theme songs by The Who, only by my butchered renditions. And he's the one who introduced me to The Rolling Stones. Truth: I liked their music, but I never GOT it. Like really understood. But somewhere after starting page 54 and finishing page 68 in MORANTHOLOGY, I got it. I really understood.

Moran also explores some of the most important faces and events of the 2000s here. Early on, CELEBRITY WATCH SPECIAL: MICHAEL JACKSON'S MEMORIAL, shows her understanding of our "reality TV obsessed" world and THE BEST ROYAL WEDDING EVER, digs deeper into not just the British connection with their monarchy, but how it's evolved from mere awe to "they're people too".

The Sherlock reviews, juxtaposed against the Downton Abbey reviews are brilliant. Brilliantly written, and brilliantly broken down to their important parts. About Downton Abbey Season 2: "The megaplot that Downton currently revolves around is the state of Cousin Matthew's (Dan Stevens) trousers." About Sherlock Season 2: "And so A Scandal In Belgravia was an hour and a half of two odd, fast, hot people being confused by each other; not quite knowing why they jangle when they're around each other; not quite knowing what to do with their feelings."

Though, KEITH -NODDY HOLDER SAYS YOU WEAR A WIG is my favorite story in MORANTHOLOGY, the one that touched me the most with its, That's Exactly How I Would Say If She Hadn't Said It First, was I KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE POOR... In the current political climate, and after having just seen SJP slay Billy Bush on TV, Moran chimes in with alacrity, even though she's speaking of her own country's politics. "when you are poor, you feel heavy." "The heaviness comes from the sclerosis of being broke. Because when you're poor, nothing ever changes. Every idea you have for moving things on is quashed through there never being any money." "...a Coalition government consisting of public school kids and millionaires, you could convince yourself the poor are snug in their motor homes." "-the very last thing-anyone poor needs is for things to be harder. These limbs are full to bursting."

This book that Moran has compiled of previously published articles and essays was all that I was looking for when I opened to the first page. Her humor is witty and dry, all that a great British woman should possess. Her heartfelt essays are sincere and lyrical. Moran's writing is intelligently wise, belying her age, and the fact that once she did indeed, "put a wasp in a jar and got it stoned".

Book Rating:

4 Stars


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About The Author:
Caitlin Moran had literally no friends in 1990, and so had plenty of time to write her first novel, The Chronicles of Narmo, at the age of fifteen. At sixteen she joined music weekly, Melody Maker, and at eighteen briefly presented the pop show ‘Naked City’ on Channel 4. Following this precocious start she then put in eighteen solid years as a columnist on The Times – both as a TV critic and also in the most-read part of the paper, the satirical celebrity column ‘Celebrity Watch’ – winning the British Press
Awards’ Columnist of The Year award in 2010 and Critic and Interviewer of the Year in 2011.

The eldest of eight children, home-educated in a council house in Wolverhampton, Caitlin read lots of books about feminism – mainly in an attempt to be able to prove to her brother, Eddie, that she was scientifically better than him. Caitlin isn’t really her name. She was christened ‘Catherine’. But she saw ‘Caitlin’ in a Jilly Cooper novel when she was 13 and thought it looked exciting. That’s why she pronounces it incorrectly: ‘Catlin’. It causes trouble for everyone.

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This book was provided by the publisher, in exchange for my honest review only

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