21 July 2014

How to Build a Girl: In Which We All Wanted to be Dolly Wilde

Aaaaaand we're off! Not in quite the same way as the first section - AHEM - but moving along plot-wise. Get your minds out of the hairbrush and deodorant-filled gutter.

SO! Johanna Morrigan is dead, long live Dolly Wilde! Let us pause for a moment and fondly recall 1992, when we were in our early teens and the third wave of feminism was - I say in retrospect - just getting off the ground. Grrrrls were rioting, grunge was happening, and my mother was Distinctly Unhappy with the amount of Angry Lady Singers caterwauling from my bedroom. It was an abrupt shift from the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rodgers & Hammerstein that were previously issuing from the CD boombox I got for my birthday. I had just begged for my first set of pointe shoes and was fantasizing about choreographing a full ballet to Little Earthquakes.

What I'm trying to say is that it's hard for me to stop relating for long enough to have a coherent thought about this book.

I have maybe a lot of feelings about 1992.
I love Johanna and her Dolly Wilde persona. I love how she likes music whose creators she could probably take in a fight, her vulnerable relationship with her father, and her initial terror and then love of a mosh pit. I love that she thinks Smashing Pumpkins are too mopey. I laughed hysterically at her opinion of band security, having talked myself backstage a few times and thought the same thing.

So, in conclusion,

and if you're beginning to feel the same way too, you can pre-order it right here from Odyssey Books, which is where our lovely host Emily works! Thanks for putting this shindig together, madam!

I luf you.

14 July 2014

How to Build a Girl: In Which it Takes 28 Words

Remember last week when we didn't know about Johanna's preferred masturbatory equipment?

It was a tenser, yet simpler time.
Actually, Johanna's self-exploration is something I'm a little envious of. I grew up in a very religious household and believed with every fiber and nerve ending of my being that Jesus was watching me all the time, so needless to say I didn't discover the finer points of - well, anything really - until after I left home.

But with that one exception, Johanna is speaking my language. She lives in a world where most of her information is gathered from books. She researches things like Spiritual Midwifery. She is pragmatic and hopelessly naive and mixed up and more than a little in love with Gilbert Blythe. 

You can start by removing that shirt...
And woven in between those moments of hilarious contradiction that is a byword for adolescence, there are moments of gut-piercing truth about the pressures of growing up in an unstable home: 

In later years, I can always recognize someone else who received this shot of fear at an early age... Children raised on cortisol. Children who think too fast. (41)
That is all I have to say publicly about that. 

Because I've read the back of the book, I know that this is all leading up to Johanna's transformation into the Self that she thinks she wants to be. And because she is an odd bird, I am very much looking forward to seeing what that Self is. 

You should most definitely preorder this book from this handy link right here! Thanks to Emily for hosting this online shindig - once we meet up in the Caribbean, 

07 July 2014

How to Build A Girl: In Which We Introduce Ourselves

There's an embarrassing amount of internet dust on this blog. I haven't posted since Bleak House; how did THAT happen?!? I don't know what to say about The Goldfinch and Frog Music, you guys. And I read along with Lady Audley's Secret (mostly), but I just... didn't post.

Well, if there's any book that can make me want to blog again, it'll be the new one by Caitlin Moran that you can preorder from Odyssey Books right here. And huge thanks to Emily for hosting this online shindig!

I wanted those Docs so bad when I was in high school.
I've written about Caitlin on this blog before. In fact, I bought How to Be A Woman new with actual dollars at full price and not bookstore credit because I liked it and her and her Twitter feed that much. Her writing makes me want to stand up on the train where all the Silicon Valley techies are dicking around with Snapchat on their phones and say, "THIS is what feminism is! Sister Suffragette, I support you! ALAS FOR MRS. PANKHURST HAS BEEN CLAPPED IN IRONS AGAIN!" 

and then I would read sections of it out loud - or declaim it from memory - until they're all laughing and have also learned something, just like on Sesame Street but with feminism and wanking. 

ANYWAY. A bit about me to begin: 

- By day and sometimes by night I'm an executive assistant at a Silicon Valley start-up you've never heard of because we do investment banking... stuff. Bankers need startups too. Apparently.

- I like books and read them a lot. I like knitting and spinning and I do those things a lot too. I have serious opinions about the State of Handcrafts in this Country.

- Feminism, man, I swear to god. The more I think about it, the more I want to be independently wealthy so I can become a modern-day Alice Paul. She probably knitted, right? 

Okay, Cat-lin. Here we go.