The Book That Changed My Life: How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

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By Joanna Shaw

I was sixteen when I bought this book. I was about to take the train home from holiday, and I needed something to read on the four hour train journey home. In those four hours, I learnt so much about the issues surrounding being a woman.

How to be a Woman is Caitlin Moran’s part autobiography, part guidebook to life. Her popular Times column has been produced into a collection of essays, Moranthology, and her recent call to arms Moranifesto urges readers to preserve public libraries, learn to listen to young people, and, finally, give up ridiculously high shoes. I had previously never heard of her, and had barely acknowledged feminism. Now, I regard this as one of the top books I would recommend to someone. Moran covers a multitude of topics, such as why you should, or shouldn’t, have children, the controversy of why all women feel like they should wear high heels, and harsher subjects, such as abuse and abortion. All of these stories are told in a brutally honest, no-holding-back manner.

Moran is unshakeable when it comes to writing about tough subjects, but she also mixes the serious with the silly. The parts reflecting her childhood, growing up with six other siblings and having to share her birthday baguette with them, are very funny and witty. Moran successfully produces her tongue-in cheek-humour into a legitimate, structured argument. One of the more popular sections of the book is her reflection on hanging out with Lady GaGa in a sex club (the story is entirely true!) and GaGa’s full discussion on her sexuality.

Overall, Caitlin Moran is a role model for women (and men.) How to be a Woman is a comedic masterpiece, that also serves as a truly honest reflection that, in her own words, will make some people pretty bloody angry when they are shown the true trials of being a woman.


About the author / 

Joanna Shaw

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