This was a library loan, which is problematic as I could only borrow it for 3 weeks (and then another 3 weeks, renewed online), when actually it’s the kind of book that lends itself to being picked up from time to time, read for a few pages and then put down again. It does not work as well when you try to read big chunks of it at bedtime. (And it’s a hefty book!)
The book is basically a collection of Caitlin’s columns over the years, gathered together under broad headings. For those of you unfamiliar with her writing, she is a columnist of the light campaigning variety. She is intelligent, warm, laugh-out-loud funny and wears her heart very much on her sleeve. I love the way she shows her vulnerabilities, which, of course, become her strengths, her humanity. I enjoyed her novel How To Build a Girl (which I think is more or less her early life story), I like the TV show she co-writes with her sister, Raised By Wolves (also part-autobiographical) and I enjoy her writing whenever I come across it. I haven’t read How To Be A Woman, which became a bestseller.
I picked this up in the library after reading an extract in The Guardian Weekend but I’m afraid it left me a bit cold. I love Moran’s sense of humour but it’s not as funny after 20 pages. It works best in short bursts. I’m afraid I gave up at page 135.
In parts the book felt dated; some of the columns were published years ago, eg a few TV reviews of the 2012 Olympics. Another, a TV review about David Bowie, seems unfortunate. (I also got really irritated by the typographical errors not picked up in the editing process!)
Funnily enough, whilst writing this review, I have looked at some of the later columns I hadn’t yet got to, one in particular about the extraordinary power, wealth, stature and hedonism of New York City and what it says about the human race was an interesting read as I spent time there this summer on holiday. So, yes, it works in brief reads, but not one for getting lost in.