From celebrated British journalist and broadcaster Moran. Johanna Morrigan (AKA Dolly Wilde) has it all: at eighteen, she lives in her own flat in London and writes for the coolest music magazine in Britain. But Johanna is miserable. The man of her dreams, John Kite, has just made it big in 1994’s hot new BritPop scene. Suddenly John exists on another plane of reality: that of the Famouses.
Moran’s default candour continues here ... There are many reasons to read Moran – the demystifying glee around the squelchy stuff, her helter-skelter verbiage, always barrelling towards a zinger of a phrase, her bottomless fount of ideas ... Ultimately, How to Be Famous is less a roman-à-clef than a rollicking fantasy, where everyone is always witty, princes whisk their loves away in business class, and Moran is able to play out some very satisfying 2018 scenarios in 1995 ... The bestselling poptimist has rewritten her past in heroic terms, creating a rollicking fantasy which leaves a rosy afterglow.
Moran's novel is strongest showing an empowered young woman fighting against a society constantly trying to strip her of her value. How to Be Famous explodes with the screams of rock 'n' roll life, but at its heart it's an ode to the tenacity, energy and collective power of teenage girls.
...a dirty, jolly, book-length defense of teenage enthusiasm ... It's a book for someone who has yet to find out that taste is relative, cynicism is cheap, and you should only date people who are kind to you. Despite its treatment of sexual exploitation, How To Be Famous is not dark—it is a joyous, yelping novel about learning to love things without apology or irony. In service to this, metaphors careen all over the book like untrained animals, shedding and slobbering on the carpets. Nuance is lost, repetition is constant, and Moran must always have the last word, even when she's the only one talking. But in a contest between craft and feeling, if I can't have both, I'd take feeling every time. Moran reminds us that playing it cool is a waste of living.