I will never not love Caitlin Moran. She is both brilliant and mad, which is a combination that gets me anytime.
If you are an avid reader, you may have come across a few books that have changed your perception, because it is what books are for. The book that changed my views on love was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë; the book that changed my views on literature was Atonement by Ian McEwan; the book that changed my views on life was How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran.
If I could take any celebrity out for brunch, it would be Caitlin Moran. If I could smoke fags outside a pub in Wolverhampton (or anywhere else, really) with an author, it would be Caitlin Moran. If I could go Doc Martens shopping with anyone: Caitlin Moran. If I could meet a famous person in pretty much any circumstance, you got it: Caitlin Moran. If I could take someone with me on a desert island: Colin Farrell (because reasons).
I do not remember where or when I bought How to be a woman, but I do remember reading in two hours and obsessing over it to quite a considerable degree. It is an impossibly clever, outstandingly funny chronicle on the author’s life as a woman, with all its challenges, disappointments and wonders. Moreover, it was the book that taught me that it was all right to be openly feminist — and not only all right; it was a necessity. I had never laughed that much while reading a book. Let me emphasise this: it is really, really, really funny.
I reread it (you should see it, it’s covered in post-its, highlighter, notes in the margin, and what might well be a mixture of egg and cress sandwich and red wine) and decided that everyone should read it. I have recommended it to pretty much everyone I know, who in turns recommended it to everyone they knew. (Seriously though, if you are reading this, Caitlin Moran, you owe me at least 5% of your sales in Belgium. I’ll settle for a beer and a bag of crisps.) I even remember that it was on sales at the W.H. Smith in Saint-Pancras when I was waiting for my train, and a woman I did not know was looking at it and could not decide whether she should buy it. I urged her to (I said something along the lines of “You should definitely buy it; it will change your life”) and she looked at me as if I had just escaped from an asylum for the insane, but she bought it anyway. I secretly entertain the fantasy that she has been worshipping me for my good piece of advice ever since.
All this to say that I have just started reading her new book, Moranifesto, and I already love it. When I reached page 11, I started crying right in the middle of a rant on capitalism, in which she was saying that we stand zero chance of changing a system that we cannot even name. That’s the kind of stuff she writes. That, and getting drunk with Benedict Cumberbatch. Moranifesto is the continuation of Moranthology (2012), a collection of chronicles that she has written for The Times Magazine, along some new writing.
What is really interesting in Moranifesto is the idea that she develops in the introduction: how could she, as a pop culture journalist and as a woman who is not a specialist in politics, precisely write about this difficult topic? The answer, as it unfolds in the book, is that everybody should be allowed and able to do so, because we all participate in society. She makes some complicated issues more accessible without simplifying anything, which is quite the achievement.
Go read some Caitlin Moran, I guarantee you that her books will make you happy.