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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Review: Moranthology by Caitlin Moran

I first encountered Caitlin Moran when her book How to be a Woman came into the bookstore at which I was currently working. I find myself amazed time and time again at that which people are willing to share, and that book was no exception to open sharing. The book started me on a “must read more of what she wrote” and “oooh she’s on Twitter must follow” course. I find Caitlin Moran to be a lot of what the modern feminist should be. I love that she is a feminist who has chosen marriage and children – after all feminism is all about doing what you chose to do, not what other chose as the right course/option for you. Not to forget her wicked sense of humour and general all round niceness.

That niceness and great sense of humour are all equally evident in Moranthology.  If I remember correctly it is the second essay/column in the collection that discusses her plight in trying to find her voice as a writer and what/how she should act and write. She discusses how she started with what she thought would work; emulating the work she enjoyed reading. Only to find that she really isn’t that nasty, snarky person. Sadly, she realised it too late to stop herself from writing something so mean that she now only remembers it with mortification. At which point she then proceeds to apologise profusely to not only the lead singer of the band she reviewed, but also to his mum – see she’s a really nice person.

 Moranthology is a collection of the various columns that Moran has written for The Times, including the Celebrity Watch ones. It is in those Celebrity Watch pieces that her sense of humour really shines, along with her fangirl flag. She pushes for us to campaign for Ghostbusters to be known as the greatest movie of all time, and not Star Wars. Squees when getting to meet the stars, the writers, producers, and go on set – the TARDIS, the TARDIS!! – – the lucky, lucky fish - for not only Dr Who, but also Sherlock.  Her palatable excitement at getting to meet Lady Gaga, Kylie, Paul McCartney, and all the other famous folks she meets, just further highlights that yes, when a normal person meets someone famous it’s like you just can’t stop saying stupid things.

At this point you’re probably going “Yes, yes funny we get that, but is it all just about tv shows and meeting famous people?” It’s not, don’t worry. She has many pieces on the more serious things in life, some are done with humour and others are just so well handled that they without fail strike just the right chords. She openly and matter-of-factly talks about her family and how they used grants, and what they meant for them. How taking away that support would change a lot of lives, and most definitely not for the better. She also talks about  a friend of hers who has some psychological issues, and needs his grant to keep living alone, so that he won’t think that the voices he hears are coming from those he knows. She addresses library closures, why they’re a bad idea and what the library meant to her growing up. One of my favourites of the more serious topics is her discussion on the argument that pregnancy is a gift, and thus you shouldn’t abort. Moran takes the “it’s a gift” analogy and tears it apart for the nonsense that it is. She does tackle the miniskirt and burqas with more humour. I’m paraphrasing, but her take is that it’s the men who have an issue with it, then they should wear it!

Not only is this book a great holiday read, it’s just a great all round read. It’s for the person looking for something light, with just the right dash of heavy in it. I say this because Caitlin Moran has the gift of doing with nonfiction what great fiction does; get you talking and interrogating the views you hold.

This review first appeared here.

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Me in a nutshell: I game, read, tweet, enjoy good food, have bouts of red pen rage and I'm a coffee snob.

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