Howdy there ladies.
It’s Mondaaaayyyy, which means we have finally read some of How to Build a Girl and get to talk about it! Emily is hosting this lovely readalong (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.
So we have met our intrepid heroine, Johanna. And what is she doing when we first meet her? Masturbating. Next to her brother.
So, go Johanna for masturbating, I guess? I mean, “If I can’t go on a date with a boy…. then at least I can go on a date with me. A bed-date, i.e., a wank.” is a sentiment I can totally get behind. But dude…. not next to your little brother.
I instantly feel for Johanna, because her dad is a pathetic ass, but she loves him. I get this. I kind of hate her dad, but that makes me sympathize with her. I hope she learns to stand up to him as the book goes on.
Joanna starts peeling potatoes because she’s acting-parent of this household, and this little gem gets dropped on me:
“I carried on peeling potatoes. I love this peeling knife. It fits so snugly in my hand. Together, we must have peeled tons of potatoes. We are a good team. It is my Excalibur.”
And that just might be my favorite passage so far. It’s hard to compete with my love of potatoes.
Her poor mother… I feel super bad for her. I feel like I shouldn’t. She’s married and choosing to stay with a man who has never grown up and learned to take care of his family, and she is absolutely miserable because she has twin infants now and that just sucks. And seriously people, BIRTH CONTROL. And yet, I still feel bad for her. Maybe I’m just feeling particularly nice, because normally this shit would infuriate me. Especially with Johanna being all
“Currently we don’t have a mother. Just a space where one was.”
I hope that her mom gets her shit together and kicks their good-for-nothing father out of the house.
So ANYWAYS, Johanna accidentally lets the cat out of the bag, in that she expresses to a neighbor that her crappy father is cheating the system and getting assistance, and she’s terrified that she has just caused the downfall of her entire family. This poor girl. Losing their assistance might have been the best thing to ever happen to her family, because her parents would have been forced to try to find jobs, but still. She’s freaked, and starts very nobly trying to make some dough. Which leads to that hilarious but also heartbreaking appearance of her on TV. So first, she comes to the realization that she is not a pretty girl. That in of itself was just sad. This bright, hilarious, brazen girl sees herself in a monitor and sees herself as ugly and fat. And that was just heartbreaking.
And then she does a Scooby Doo impression on television, which was just hysterical and also a little like watching a train derail. Sadly, it’s her father who has the best response (basically, don’t be a prat), and while I hate to admit that man can say anything of which I approve – I do. It was really the only thing to say.
So all in all, I’m actually really enjoying this and I’m glad because I wasn’t sure I would. This is easily the most I’ve highlighted quotes & made notes on my Kindle. But it’s hard not to like Johanna. She’s weird and funny and passionate, even when she’s not sure what she should be passionate about. She thinks her kisses are going to change the world, and well, this
“I don’t want to die for something. I don’t even want to walk in the rain up a hill in a skirt that’s sticking to my thighs for something. I want to live for something, instead – as men do. I want to have fun.”
I’m really glad I get to start the next section now. FINALLY. It’s hard waiting a whole week.