HOW TO BUILD A GIRL BY CAITLIN MORAN
Yes, there’s a lot of masturbation in this Brit’s novel about a teenage girl in ’90s England, and, no, she’s not sorry about it. “It’s not accidental,” says Moran, whose first book was the hit feminist manifesto How to Be a Woman. “I remember being a teen and reading all these novels with teenage heroines and wondering ‘Where’s all the wanking?’” Moran’s comingof-age tale traces the metamorphosis of poor overweight Johanna Morrigan as she transforms into glamorous man hunter “Dolly Wilde.” Although it’s very funny, it’s also deeply touching. “I wanted to write a book about all the things I wish I’d known when I was that age,” she explains. It’s part of her larger mission as a writer: to explore women’s issues that aren’t normally written about (like being ashamed about how badly they want to be beautiful, having periods and, yes, masturbating).