Candid columnist fulfils fans’ craving for caustic humour
Moranthology (Ebury Press)
by Caitlin Moran British newspaper columnist Caitlin Moran’s first book, How to Be a Woman, was one of 2011’s publishing sensations.
Fat, fashion, Brazilians, internet porn, abortion; Moran gave us feminism for the 21st century woman, dictated, as she put it, from a bar stool.
The book was a hit with Kiwi women if its library reserve list was anything to go by – I was number 42 in the queue and waited four months to get my hands on it.
While I admired Moran’s often excruciating honesty about her adolescence and her championing of feminism in a decade when women seem embarrassed by the word, the book felt ranty and half-formed at times.
It was no surprise to learn she wrote it in just five months.
Her follow- up, Moranthology, is more coherent and considered, being a collection of her best Times columns from the last couple of years.
A less charitable reviewer might say Moran’s bolshy arguments hold up better when lasting a mere three pages but I thoroughly enjoyed this book – I cackled throughout, even reading it while stirring a risotto. In other words, it was un-putdownable. Moran’s turn of phrase is batty and wonderful; her description of David Cameron as a ‘‘robot made of ham’’ has its own Facebook page.
In Moranthology, Moran tackles subjects as diverse as burqas, being a skunk addict, World of Warcraft addiction and mothers who drink heavily.
She interviews Keith Richards on International Talk Like a Pirate Day and visits a Berlin sex club with Lady Gaga.
But my favourite columns draw on Moran’s experience of childhood poverty, growing up one of eight children in a council estate in Wolverhampton.
Railing against Britain’s Tory policies, she defends public libraries, paying tax, and welfare for the poor and disabled, in a deeply touching way that gives weight to a book containing an alarming amount of Doctor Who fandom.