Title: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Lena Dunham
Publication Date: 1st October 2014
Rating: 2/5 stars
From the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls comes a hilarious, wise, and fiercely candid collection of personal essays that establishes Lena Dunham 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.
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.”
Lena Dunham has been touted as the voice of our generation and her show ‘Girls’ is pretty entertaining so I was looking forward to reading her collection of essays. Way back in July I wrote a wish list, where I mentioned that the Goodreads teasers indicated that this book would be very funny. The teasers LIED!
This book is fundamentally sad. Dunham looks upon her life with very little humour – if it is supposed to be funny, it is obviously much too high brow for me! I finished the 262 pages feeling numb and depressed. At no point did I ever feel like reading on, but I had a very long train trip with nothing else to do…. It just wasn’t very interesting. I think that it could have been, but it was also too depressing to create much excitement.
(I may also have been biased having just finished Mindy Kaling’s ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)’ which is truly piss-your-pants hysterical – review to come.)
I also had a problem with this ‘collection of essays’ thing. It didn’t add anything to the stories, and instead made the book as a whole repetitive and disjointed. The only positive is that it made the chapters relatively short and therefore there were plenty of places to stop and weep – because, in case you didn’t get it yet, this book is rather upsetting!
For people who are interested in what makes a tortured artist the way they are, read right ahead with morbid fascination. For those who prefer a little light-heartedness, steer well-clear! I am so glad that I got a discounted version of this book, because it was not at all what I expected. And it also didn’t teach me any major life lessons – I have a much better sense of self-preservation. Though I am not a tortured artist – what do I know about life?