…Hopscoth and Handbags – Lucy Mangan (Book Review)

‘BAD: Reading. WHY? Words again. What are you, some kind of like, reader?’ – Lucy Mangan on what’s cool, or in this case what’s uncool…

Lucy Mangan’s Hop Scotch & Hand Bags is a more-than-slightly amusing account of a typical girl’s journey though growing up, puberty, friendships, family issues, sexual encounters and working life.

The problem there is the word ‘typical.’ Although Mangan hits on all the “usual” fears and hic-ups of being a ‘girl’ she doesn’t hit on it for everyone. I’m not condoning her – writing a book on every girl would be near to impossible. How would one encompass every combination of parents, schools, friendships, siblings, romances, sexual experiences…etc?

Mangan attempts to combat this by making her ‘how to…’ guide into part memoir; using her own experiences of being female she justifies the sometimes sweeping generalisations that she postulates about every aspect of girl-hood. These parts are one of the most enjoyable of the read, making the book less of a statement on being a girl and more a statement based on her own experiences, which is totally justified. (Not disimilar to what I am doing here.)

However, what makes Mangan’s part-memoir worth a read, for me, are the lists. I love to make a list, and clearly so does Mangan.

Mangan’s 10 Great Disappointments In Life:

Bioré pore-cleansing strips
Posh Chocolates
Posh Restaurants
Posh Spice
Christmas Pantomimes

A perfect example from Mangan’s chapter entitled ‘Growing Up’ of how she sometimes hits the nail, while still remaining amusing…number 7 made me laugh out loud on the tube. (LOLOTT?)
As a start to this 9 month stint I figure it quite sufficient, it didn’t scare me off women authors or make me spiral into depression or bra burn, it didn’t distract me too much from a pretty hectic few weeks at work.

I would recommend this to the generation of women above me, as it didn’t hit home for me as much as say, Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman. Just try not to take it too seriously, or Mangan’s tendency to generalise could anger you…

NB: This post was originally published in 9monthsofwomen.com

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