Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: Not That Kind of Girl

Summary: For readers of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, wise, and fiercely candid collection of personal essays establishes Lena Dunham—the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls—as one of the most original young talents writing today.

In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.

“Take My Virginity (No Really, Take It)” is the account of Dunham’s first time, and how her expectations of sex didn’t quite live up to the actual event (“No floodgate had been opened, no vault of true womanhood unlocked”); “Girls & Jerks” explores her former attraction to less-than-nice guys—guys who had perfected the “dynamic of disrespect” she found so intriguing; “Is This Even Real?” is a meditation on her lifelong obsession with death and dying—what she calls her “genetically predestined morbidity.” And in “I Didn’t F*** Them, but They Yelled at Me,” she imagines the tell-all she will write when she is eighty and past caring, able to reflect honestly on the sexism and condescension she has encountered in Hollywood, where women are “treated like the paper thingies that protect glasses in hotel bathrooms—necessary but infinitely disposable.”

Exuberant, moving, and keenly observed, Not That Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up. “I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you,” Dunham writes. “But if I can take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile.” -- Random House

I remember awhile back when I learned that Lena Dunham got a book deal. I was really excited! I've been a fan of the HBO series Girls for a few years now and I think Ms. Dunham is extremely talented... and also a little outrageous. She's already accomplished so much as a director, producer, and actress; and she's not even 30 years old! Pretty awesome to say the least.

Ms. Dunham's memoir is titled NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL: A YOUNG WOMAN TELLS YOU WHAT SHE'S "LEARNED", and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it. However, I don't think it's for everyone. I am a big fan of Ms. Dunham's and I find her show to be both insightful and hilarious. I am pretty certain that most women my age (and most of my friends) wouldn't agree. Some might even be offended. So I guess what I'm saying is that I think this book is a must-read for fans of Ms. Dunham's. If you aren't familiar with her work, I wouldn't suggest started with her book.

NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL is pure Lena Dunham and I thought it was pretty entertaining. In fact, her comments and issues and wit reminded me a great deal of her show Girls. There is actually quite a bit of Ms. Dunham in her character Hannah namely her insecurities, her writing talents, and especially her OCD. I almost felt, at times, as if I was reading a companion piece to the television show.

Ms. Dunham is obviously fearless despite what a few of her stories referenced. She isn't afraid to discuss any issue whether it be controversial, outrageous or even gross. It's no holds barred in this book. There is sexual content, language, and more; and it's not for the easily offended. However, if you are a fan of this woman's, then I'm guessing that you'll enjoy her insights.

Some of the topics that Ms. Dunham explores include the loss of her virginity, the long list of jerks that she dated, her OCD issues, her obsession with dying, and the challenges she faced in her career. I think she's pretty darn wise and she's definitely funny; and I was impressed with how much wisdom she has to offer in such a few short years.

Overall, I think what impressed me most about this book was Ms. Dunham's honesty. It's probably tied to that courage that I think she has. There is no doubt that she touches upon some pretty ghastly topics, and there were times I was both uncomfortable and embarrassed to read this book. Having said that, I very much appreciated how honest Ms. Dunham was -- even it was brutal at times; and I loved she she opened her mind and her heart to her fans.

NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL was pure Lena Dunham and I highly recommend it all of her fans!


bermudaonion said...

Well, I'm very out of it and didn't know who Dunham was until you told me so this probably isn't for me.

Beth F said...

We watched a few episodes of Girls but didn't fall in love the series like everyone else. Maybe we should try it again.

Becca said...

Dunham is definitely moving feminism into the mainstream, making it a cool thing, no matter if one agrees with her methods or not. I haven't seen Girls, as I'm too poor to afford special cable channels! But I would be interested in reading this book.