I’m a huge fan of Caitlin Moran, after I read her first book, the smash hit, How to Be A Woman.
At heart a rock journalist, Moran is both frank talking and extremely hilarious. She’s been columnist for The Times since she was 18, and in Moranifesto she brings her rock-n’roll style to the potentially lofty and dull subject of politics. In Moranifesto, Moran discusses the Big Issues, tackling in the same breathe the problem of cystitis, the delights of bacon and the blitheness of the ruling classes.
Or, in other words, the real world. Nothing is separate from anything else, it’s all political, and it’s all ridiculous. Her editor had the nous to see this blend as a good thing when Moran approached her saying she’d like to do write about everyday life and politics, but she’d had to have two separate columns. Her editor called her a “massive idiot” and told her of course she could combine both together.
Like her previous books, novel How to Be A Woman, non-fiction How to Build a Girl, and previous essay collection Morantholgy, Moran’s writing is razor sharp, funny and insanely readable.
She is also serious. There is a passionate rallying call to change hidden underneath this humour. Towards the end of the book she says:
“We must make things different. We must change them. That is, simply our job. For the ultimate purpose of politics should be to enable people to experience as much joy as possible before they die.”
If you haven’t read Moran before I cannot recommend more highly that you seek out a copy of this book, and her previous works, particularly How to Build a Girl and How to Be A Woman. But, despite my fan-girl status, I confess that Moranifesto disappointed me a wee bit.
Due to the nature of the book as mostly a selection of her topical columns from The Times, it feels inevitably dated. Her overall content is not new to me so this time-lag jars more than it would if I’d not read everything else she’s published. Moran has linked the pieces together, freshening them up with pithy introductions, and this does work to some extent, but loving Moran as I do, I want Moranifesto to be fresh and up-to-the-minute, but by its nature, it cannot.