Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Moranthology by Caitlin Moran

Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
Published November 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for this review

Publisher's Summary:
Possibly the only drawback to the bestselling How to Be a Woman was that its author, Caitlin Moran, was limited to pretty much one subject: being a woman. Moranthology is proof that Caitlin can actually be "quite chatty" about many other things, including cultural, social, and political issues that are usually the province of learned professors or hot-shot wonks—and not of a woman who once, as an experiment, put a wasp in a jar and got it stoned. Caitlin ruminates on—and sometimes interviews—subjects as varied as caffeine, Keith Richards, Ghostbusters, Twitter, transsexuals, the welfare state, the royal wedding, Lady Gaga, and her own mortality, to name just a few.

My Thoughts:
Caitlin Moran is a very funny lady. My family probably wishes she were not so funny - they got a bit tired of me reading funny bits to them (if you've ever tried to do this, you'll know that the funny bits are much funnier if you're reading them in full context). She is also self-effacing and completely open, willing to share even her least than stellar moments.
"From the very start, I was a terrible stoner. Not in any sense of being hardcore, and wild, like some crazy-eyed loner on a voyage to Valhalla. I mean literally terrible. Every time I smoked I passed out. I once got so stoned interviewing Radiohead that I had to be put to bed in the bass player's spare bedroom."
I sometimes wondered how Moran kept her job!  Moran shares stories of her hippy upbringing, her married life, her failures (a less than perfect ending to her interview with Paul McCartney, for example) and her successes (she and Gaga are now great buds). Having had a son who was, literally, addicted to the online game "World of Warcraft," I read Moran's piece on it with interest and amusement and being a fan of both BBC's "Sherlock" and "Downton Abbey," I loved getting Moran's impressions.

Moran's writing is not limited to humor. Moranthology includes her articles on libraries and the need for public assistance which make great cases for both, bringing a face to the case for funding for both.
"Everything I am is based on this ugly building [the library she spent time in as a child] on it's lonely lawn - lit up during winter darkness; open in the slashing rain - which allowed a girl so poor she didn't even own a purse to come in twice a day and experience actual magic; traveling through time, making contact with the dead - Dorothy Parker, Stella Gibbons, Charlotte Bronte, Spike Milligan.

A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination."
Isn't that just fantastic? If I were a politician looking to make budget cuts reading this, there is no way I could put the library system on the block.

Reader be warned: Moran has very definite opinions about feminism, politics, abortion and she is unapologetic. I found it refreshing and rarely had an argument with her points. I'm sure there are others who will.

Perhaps the best thing about this book for me is that as I was reading it, I kept thinking it was something that Miss H would enjoy. Miss H, my reluctant reader who on her goals for this year actually including reading. I must find books to put in her hands that will encourage her to find a love of books. Moranthology will, I think, help me in this. I can't wait for us to be able to compare our thoughts on some of the columns.


  1. I just got "How to Be a Woman" from the library and loving every second of it! She's hilarious and spot on. This will have to be my second or third read of the year! Great review, Lisa.

  2. This sounds like a book I'd like to listen to. I like funny when I am on a road trip!

  3. I like the sound of this, and it does sound rather funny, which is something that I am in dire need of right now, having read so many dark books. I love that you loved this one so much, and that you want to share it. You know it's truly a great read when it's one that you want to pass around and read aloud. Excellent review today, Lisa! I really liked that you put this book on my radar, and that you loved it so much!

  4. This sounds like a fun book to read, Lisa. I haven't a clue who Caitlin Moran is, but she sounds witty and intelligent. I will have to look for this one! Thanks for the great review!

  5. I loved Moran's How to be a Woman and I have this one on my wishlist. Glad that you enjoyed it. She is really funny!