Note: this week's post will contain spoilers for the second part of the novel (though most of this week's plot is already laid out in the back cover summary.)
So the first thing we learn in this second section of the novel — besides the fact that Krissie is my spirit animal ("He is on his bed knitting himself a bobble hat whilst listening to an Agatha Christie audiotape from the library.") — is that Johanna has decided, in lieu of killing herself, that she will reinvent herself.
And so, I just . . . start all over again. I have read, many times, the phrase "a self-made man," but misunderstood what it meant. I presumed it was describing not a working-class-boy made good in industry — smoking a cigar, in slightly overshined shoes — but something more elemental and fabulous instead. Someone mage-like, who had stitched themselves together out of silver gauze, and ambition, and magic.
"A self-made man" — not of woman born but alchemized, through sheer force of will, by the man himself. This is what I want to be. I want to conjure myself out of every sparkling, fast-moving thing I can see. I want to be the creator of me. I'm gonna begat myself. 
Thus begins Johanna Morrigan's transformation into Dolly Wilde. She names herself after Oscar Wilde's niece, who "was, like, this amazing alcoholic lesbian who was dead scandalous, and died really young." Given the fact that she was choosing between that and Belle Jar/Laurel Canyon/Kitten Lithium, I'd say she did okay with the fake name.
Two years pass, and Johanna/Dolly has landed her dream job as a music reviewer for a magazine.
Perhaps it's because I first entered the job market when the economy was at its worst, but this seems wholly unbelievable to me. Johanna is 16, without a high school diploma, and has never seen a band live before. Yet somehow, based on a few dozen reviews she's mailed in and an interview in which she wears a top hat and makes a few sad Annie jokes, she is immediately offered the job.
I know Caitlin Moran was a the host of a late-night music show at the age of 18, so this kind of thing can happen in the real world — but to have it happen to a fictional character after a two-year time jump and with no visible struggle or development just seems like a cop-out. I can suspend disbelief quite a bit in a novel, but the novel in question has to have a concrete internal logic for me to do so, and this part really tripped me up. It completely subverts the image Moran has created of Johanna as a sympathetic underdog, terrified that she will never escape the poverty she's been born into.
Of course, miraculously landing a job at a music magazine isn't without its negatives. As any observant reader would expect, Johanna's father assumes that she will use her new job to propel his music to the top of the charts. Fortunately for her, he seems to be content for now in accompanying her to gigs and getting trashed on the magazine's tab. But I'm sure we haven't seen the last of his request — Johanna is definitely going to be put in a hard spot by her father later on, and I'm already cringing to imagine it.
The other thing readers discover about Johanna's father in this section is that he has decidedly not been faking his injury for disability benefits. In fact, he was injured on the job, when he worked as a firefighter and was forced to jump from the roof of a burning building. I honestly felt bad after reading this section, having assumed previously that he was faking it. Of course, Moran sets her readers up for this one by showing them repeatedly that Pat Morrigan isn't above cheating the system in other ways (for instance, it's stated on one of the first pages that he has a fake grocer's permit so that he can buy produce at reduced rates).
At the end of this week's section, Johanna has dropped out of school (with her father's approval and her mother's concern) but she's off to conduct her first-ever interview! Things are looking up! How could anything possibly go wrong!
I am concerned.
How to Build a Girl will be released in September. You can pre-order it through the wonderful Odyssey Books, or through your local bookseller.