Sunday, 10 January 2010

The Girls' Car Handbook

Maria McCarthy

Published 20th August 2009 by Simon and Schuster price £7.99

Fresh, lively and informative, The Girls' Car Handbook is an essential read for every woman who loves her car but hates the hassles that can come with it – such as delving under the bonnet, dealing with dodgy garages or sorting out car insurance.
Packed with advice from experts including Steve Fowler, editor of What Car? Vanessa Guyll, technical expert at The AA and top breakdown patrolman Adam Ashmore, it will help women:

Haggle with dealers in car showrooms and come out on top.
Find a garage they can trust.
Motor through the credit-crunch, getting the best deal on everything from fuel to insurance.
Cope with driving disasters such as breakdowns and accidents.
Get up to speed on the various options for greener motoring, without feeling as though they've accidentally wandered into an A-level chemistry lecture.
Stay sane on the school run.

Until now motoring handbooks aimed at women have fallen into two categories. The frivolous gift-book variety, full of tips about how to top up your lipstick at traffic lights or the more feisty 'girls' can be grease monkeys too' approach which urges us to don overalls and change our own sparkplugs. And then in motoring programmes such as Top Gear 'the women's angle' is usually dealt with by wheeling on a female racing driver to show that girls can burn rubber with the best of them. But the fact is that most women aren't remotely interested in how their car's sprockets work or racing teenage boys at traffic lights. What they want are clear guidelines for carrying out basic maintenance checks, tried-and-tested tips to spot a dishonest mechanic or car dealer, and advice about staying safe on the road. The Girls' Car Handbook delivers on all these fronts, cutting through the jargon of the often male-dominated world of motoring and explaining everything a girl could possibly need to know in a clear, practical, and entertaining way.

About the author
Maria McCarthy is a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers and has contributed to Cosmopolitan, The Independent, The Guardian, The Sunday Express and MSN Cars. She's also a popular media commentator on motoring matters and has appeared on BBC Breakfast News and Radio 5 Live. She is the author of The Girls' Guide to Losing Your L Plates: How to Pass Your Driving Test and teaches freelance journalism at Bristol University. For more information see

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Reviews of The Girls' Car Handbook

My second book, The Girls' Car Handbook published by Simon and Schuster came out in August 2009. Here's a collection of reviews.

The Evening Standard, motoring editor David Williams
It's a guide to pretty much everything the novice female – or male, come to that – will ever need to know about motoring. Written in a clear, commonsense but very readable style it is crammed with useful information and really rather good.

Ian Collins, Talksport, 'The Car Guys' programme
Very informative and funny!

What Car? editor Steve Fowler
The Girls' Car Handbook is a handy book for blokes too!

Honest John, The Daily Telegraph
I thought it was very good!

Southern Daily Echo, motoring writer Alyson Marlow
The Girls' Car Handbook is easy to dip in and out of, depending on what you need to learn. With a stylish chicklit cover, it wouldn't look out of place being read by the pool – but instead of promising Mr Right, it offers a new route to female independence on the road! This could be the best £7.99 you spend on motoring.

Chester Standard, motoring editor Terry Davies
The Girls' Car Handbook is an absolute MUST for the glove compartment of a lady's car because it's crammed with everything they need to know about it. It's jolly good advice and money well spent!

Tired of getting ripped off by mechanics and car dealers? Sick of phoning your dad for something as simple as changing a tyre? It's time for us girls to take control and this little gem of a book is the solution. Buy copies for your friends too!

Drawing on expert advice Guild of Motoring Writers member Maria McCarthy reveals everything there is to know about cars and driving. It includes tips on everything from how to avoid getting ripped off at the garage to what to do when your car breaks down.

All about me

I'm a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers and author of The Girls' Car Handbook and The Girls' Guide to Losing Your L Plates, published by Simon and Schuster. My books and articles have featured in a wide range of national newspapers, magazines and websites including The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Express, The Evening Standard, Metro, MSN Cars,, Closer, Company, Look, Woman and Home, Good Housekeeping, Prima, Star, and OK!.
I'm a regular commentator on motoring matters on BBC Breakfast News, Radio 5 Live and Jeremy Vine's lunchtime show. I've also appeared on Chris Evans' drivetime and Stuart Maconie's afternoon shows on Radio 2, 'The Car Guys' slot on Ian Collins' Talksport Show, Robert Elms' and Vanessa Feltz's BBC London radio shows and carried out over 150 interviews on local BBC stations.