My last book of 2012

howtobeawomanHello 2013 and goodbye 2012! Before diving straight into the new year, I would love to share the last book I read last year.

“How to Be a Woman” by TV host Caitlin Moran is, as the title suggests, a feminist novel, which I bought on wimp when it went on sale for a short period during Christmas.

Quite frankly, I did not enjoy the first half of the book where the author described the early half of her life going through puberty and early adulthood. It was charged with too much teenage angst as she lectures and rants about the pains of growing up.

What put me off the most was her use of CAPITAL LETTERS in every other paragraph that projected her screams across the page too often.

A capitalized paragraphYet as I pressed on, the second half of the book became much more enjoyable as Moran began addressing woman, rather than girl, problems, and went on to explain why they are really not. It is in her witty arguments where I found some resonance with her as someone who shares the same gender.

On growing up, Moran ruminated, 

“What I did worry about, and thought I should work hard at, was what I should be, instead. I thought of all the efforts should be concentrated on being fabulous, rather than doing fabulous things.”

A wide range of topics was covered, from fashion to abortion, in which the author related to them with a great deal of frankness, liberalism and cynicism. She approached them with an entirely personal and conversational manner, adding on a touch of character to her writing and also a sense of conviction towards her beliefs.

Caitlin Moran credit to The GuardianAfter I got past the absolutely frightening chapter where Moran described in details about her three-day childbirth, she narrated her equally terrifying abortion experience and her reasoning behind her decision.

“Every time I sleep through the night, I am thankful for the choice I made. When the youngest graduates out of diapers, I’m relieved there isn’t a third one, following behind. When friends come round with their new babies, I am hugely, hugely grateful that I had the option not to do this again…”

The self-described ‘strident feminist’ then took on the conventional argument against abortion where ‘the essence of womanhood and maternity is to sustain life, at all costs, whatever the situation.’ In her opinion, it is more important for mothers to have a choice in deciding if she is sociologically, emotionally and practically able to care for a new life than to merely consider the intrinsic value of every life.

“If a pregnant woman has dominion over life, why should she not also have dominion over not-life?”

This book is a frank and honest account of being a modern woman though it surely was a pity the good bits are only presented in the latter half of the novel. Nonetheless, it gave me some alternative perspectives about my gender, which sounds like a sensible way to end the year.

Do share what was the last book you read in 2012 in the comment box below!

(Click on the image below to purchase the book from


9 thoughts on “My last book of 2012

  1. I’m looking forward to the day I actually read this book. Ever since I heard the interview of the author with Jian Ghomeshi on CBC’s Q I’ve been curious to see what kind of humor will be included 🙂

  2. I skipped this book in the shops because I thought it looked like a “glam guide” type book which was clearly my mistake for having never heard of Caitlin Moran! I’m intrigued now though, would you say it’s a run out and buy or a stick on the wishlist and get round to it kind of book?

    1. I wish I could put it under the run out and buy category but I would honestly reply that if you don’t mind spending your pennies for only half a book worth of fabulous writing, go ahead and pick it up. I adore the latter half of her book and her grisly details of being a woman, but the first half just felt like a teenager girl ranting about growing up – bras, skinny girls and period.

      I’m half-hearted to give this book an all-out recommendation.

  3. I really enjoyed this book, even the teenage angsty bits, but I can understand why they wouldn’t appeal to everyone. I’d recommend reading Moranthology as well – it’s her journalistic writing and covers a wide variety of topics from politics and mental health to Dr Who and Sherlock.

    1. I’m sold the moment you mentioned Dr Who! Will try to get my hands on Moranthology soon. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. I totally have this on my “to-read” list. So, I’ll be honest and will skip your review as I don’t it to ruin my own in the future 😉

  5. I really enjoyed Moran’s book, having read it myself in 2012.
    I found her stories from growing up to be very relateable (I was similarly uncool and dealt with puberty just as poorly), found her frank and honest account of her childbirth reaffirming to my views and her story of abortion both heartbreaking but also confirmed my pro-choice stance.
    Her “shouty” paragraphs I found to be just on the edge of being irritating, though I must admit to using capitals more than I probably should.
    After reading a LOT of criticism angled at Moran, it’s nice to read someone else being nice about the book.

    1. I had to go justice to this book because I loved the second half as much as disliked the teenage rants in the first half. I was torn between both its merits and credits, but what I loved most was probably how incredibly frank and straightforward an author she was. Just brilliant

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