Part memoir, part modern feminist rant, Times columnist Caitlin Moran's new book How to be a Woman tackles what it means to be female in the 21st century. In the week she answers the modern feminist's big questions in Stylist, we explain why her book is a manual no woman should be without.
From the first chapter which opens on her 13th birthday, to the last where she uses the death of a colleague to get into a meaty debate about why women feel the need to have plastic surgery this might just be the funniest intelligent book ever written.
Hidden beneath line after line of acerbic wit is a potted history of how we women (this book makes you want to start referring to yourself as a collective) got to where we are today. It’s less about bra burning and boardroom quotas and more about bikini waxing and botox (she vehemently detests both – yelling ‘grow your little minge-fro back!’ ) but every bit as empowering.
It might not be for everyone. One chapter sees her recount all the things she does and does not like to call her vagina. In another, she describes in almost eye-watering honesty the three day labour of her first child, Dora. Whether you like it or not, Moran’s work packs a feminist punch in a way that Germaine Greer and an entire army of female eunuchs could never do, because she writes about things we’ve all done, thought, and said – but not quite so eloquently.
The most moving chapter is the one entitled ‘abortion’ where, as a mother of two, she tells her unborn child, ‘I can’t have you. The world will fall in if I have you.’ In a book filled of bafflingly complex witticisms, this line, this chapter shines and will make it the book everyone will be talking about.
How To Be a Woman is released on 16 June, £11.99, amazon.co.uk
Words: Amy Grier. Main picture credit: Mark Harrison/Times Sydication