114 of 125 people found the following review helpful
Buy it now,
This review is from: How to Be a Woman (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I read this book and laughed a lot while doing so.
Then I had to face the acid test. I handed it to my wife - the professional nay-sayer, the woman who thinks that puns are not funny - and told her to open it at random and start reading. I expected to have it back within seconds with a dismissive remark, but instead she started reading it, chuckling occasionally, and when she turned the page she put her fingers under the next page, the quicker to read it. I asked her what the chuckles were for, but she didn't answer and kept on reading. Then she laughed so hard she nearly fell off the chair. She looked at me and said, "She's good."
I said "I've finished it, you can read it," but she insisted that I write my review first. That makes sense, considering that she has a bunch of friends that she passes on books to that she thinks are important (books, that is). So here it is.
And the only thing I can say I said in the review title - Buy it. It's the funniest book I've read this year, and probably the last year as well. Billed as a "feminist" book, by American standards it is not academic enough and way too funny, yet it addresses some of the major issues woman have like what to name your sexual parts, your pubic hair and so on. There's also a great deal of stuff on how women are sucked up into the vortex of buying clothes and high heels, having Brazilian waxes, and plenty more. The book is a vague memoir of life since she was thirteen, living in close-to-poverty, yet she managed to win a national newspaper essay competition and get on the staff of the prestigious Melody Maker Brit-pop rag in just the next three years. She also started her career as a national newspaper columnist (most of which was spent in the London Times) and hosted some TV shows.
You might expect this to be the story of some bimbo blonde dolly, or a Kardashian sister. But Caitlin at 35 is in many ways obviously still Caitlin at 13, and she manages to be extremely funny. At thirteen, and able to borrow adult library books, she "has struck filth gold," by reading Jilly Cooper's "Riders," a semi pornographic novel from the 1980s - naturally you can get it from Amazon US Riders. Then she grows pubic hair and shaves it off after her mother draws the whole family's attention to it in the living room.
Eventually she moves the hundred and thirty miles to London, marries and has a couple of children, the birth of which she describes in excruciating but hilarious detail. In her capacity as pop music critic she interviews Lady Gaga in a revealing yet drunken way.
And gradually she becomes aware of the role of women in society. As she says, "The patriarchy must be knackered by now. It's been 100,000 years without even a tea break: men have been ruling the world. They have been balls to the wall." She wants "some sort of flextime" where women ruled the world half of the time, while the men can "really sort out the shed, once and for all." She makes it clear she doesn't hate men, and her variety of feminism is more warm and funny than burning your (underwired and painful) bra.
Where is the American Caitlin Moran? The cover hints at Tina Fey, but although I haven't seen much of Tina Fey I doubt she's an equivalent of Caitlin Moran.
So you should buy this book. Yes, that means you - Woman, Man, and what Flickr calls "Other." Just be sure to take your ass with you when you laugh it off. And you will.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 27, 2012 10:34:57 PM PDT
Barbara Fletcher says:
Loved the review so going to read the book---thanks David, I like your style
Posted on Mar 10, 2014 11:47:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2014 11:48:16 PM PDT
S. Black says:
After reading your review I am buying it. Your review is good. I will post mine once am done reading. Thanks.
'A feminist at heart'
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