Wednesday, February 04, 2015

You can't say that!


I've joined a book club. It's only small at the moment: three or four of us meeting in a pub. It's local though and it's nice to meet other people to talk about books.

This month we read How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran and it was a challenging read. Not that the book is hard or literary, or even very long. The trouble is, it's all about sex and as I read I kept thinking "We can't talk about this at book club!"

If you go to amazon, you can read the beginning for free. It starts like this:
I am lying in bed next to my brother Lupin.
He is six years old. He is asleep.
I am fourteen. I am not asleep. I am masturbating.
The whole time I was reading I kept thinking, "how can we talk about this?" And yet it was actually quite easy in the end.

I started by saying how I'd felt about reading it and we all had a good laugh. And then we talked about how honest Caitlin is in her depiction of what it's like to be a young girl, and how refreshing to read about a young girl who is so keen on sex, and about how she invents and reinvents herself, and what we liked and what we didn't. 

It brought back lots of memories of my own childhood as I found myself looking for similarities and differences. One thing it brought home to me is that I wouldn't want to write a book like that. Not because of what other people might think but because I don't want to look back on my growing years with that crystal clarity and tell it as it really was, even if I was the only person in the world to ever read it.

10 COMMENTS:

Lily Razz said...

Sounds like a bit of a shocking experience! But I think the honesty also brings about a bit of humour! I'm relieved for you that it wasn't awkward to talk about!

fairyhedgehog said...

Thank you!

It was an interesting book to read: mostly fun, sometimes very annoying, but never boring!

Sylvia said...

Not because of what other people might think but because I don't want to look back on my growing years with that crystal clarity and tell it as it really was, even if I was the only person in the world to ever read it.


Hah, yes, that's exactly how I feel.

The author was clearly brave...was the book good?

fairyhedgehog said...

It was interesting and infuriating but never boring! So yes, I'd say it was good.

And despite my initial misgivings it was a good choice for a book club because it turned out we all had a lot to say about it!

MorningAJ said...

My first NaNo novel was loosely based on my childhood, with a few events that I described almost exactly. But there was lots of fiction too. Thing is, I know which is which, but readers won't. And there's no way I'd write about any early sexual encounters!

fairyhedgehog said...

It just seems very brave to me to look back at what it was really like to be a child/teenager without sugar coating it. I think I'd find it too painful!

Sandra Almazan said...

Yes, I wouldn't want to write about my childhood/teenage years either. But it could be liberating for a teen to read such a frank book.

fairyhedgehog said...

I agree; it would have been great to have read something like that when I was a teenager!

Simon Kewin said...

Saw her do a talk once. She's always good value.

fairyhedgehog said...

Lucky you! I'd have liked to have seen that.

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