Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review - Not That Kind of Girl by: Lena Dunham

Title: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Lena Dunham
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 265
Format: Hardcover 
Source: Personal purchase

Description:

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."

My thoughts:

Even though I can't stand most of the characters on it, I do like Lena Dunham's show GIRLS (even just for the love of Adam, it's worth it). I think Lena Dunham is a smart, creative and fun girl. So, when I heard she wrote a book, I had to check it out.

Lena has a very successful career. She received $3.7 million just to write this book. Adding in the fact that she's also the writer/creator of a popular HBO show, we can easily say that she's achieved big success even though she's only in her twenties. Because she's the child of famous artists, because she grew up wealthy, because she's had all this success at a young age, she's also often made a lot of haters. However, none of this means Dunham isn't a talent. 
I always tell people that in all classes where you learn to write, the professors tell you to "write what you know." While watching GIRLS, I did feel like Lena was writing what she knew; and I kept thinking, "how can someone make all this up?" Reading Not That Kind of Girl was a confirmation for me for all of this. Even though everything is quite exaggerated on the show, Lena has lived through it all, and that's why she can tell the story so well. In her book as well she tells you what she's lived through and what she's learned during, just like what it promises on the cover.
Not That Kind of Girl is made up of five sections: 1. Love and Sex, 2. Body, 3. Friendship, 4. Work and 5. The Big Picture. Even though she was raised in a different country, a different kind of environment around different kind of people, as you can tell from the titles of the sections, out worries, what makes us happy or unhappy aren't all that different. Lena's difference is that while I like to talk about these things with my friends or nobody at all, she shares them with the entire world. She has a wide scope of stories, too, from how she has a crooked uterus to finding a condom on the house plant during sex to being sent to a therapist when little due to a fear of death to not feeling like she belonged even though she was supposed to be surrounded by the creative, "right" people.

Maybe it's because I don't enjoy reading about relationship problems, my favorite sections were the Body and Work ones. I once again saw that I'm not alone in freaking out, stressing out and getting close to losing all hope due to the stress of work. I once again saw that I'm not alone in dragging from one nutritionist to the other with intervals in between where I pig out in a mad craze and am still overweight. Most importantly, I remembered that no matter your ass or stomach size, you can use your brain and creativity to be successful at something. I remembered that having OCD is not the end of the world and that I and I alone hold the power to control it. 
Lena Dunham is a celebrity who's accused of being selfish and self-centered like the character Hannah Horvath she plays on GIRLS. Of course, I'm not a crazy fan that stalks her all over the Internet, but I haven't come across her saying the opposite in any of the interviews. She doesn't deny being selfish in Not That Kind of Girl either. Being self-centered and thinking first about ourselves is something that's taught to us as a bad quality. However, having read Lena's book, I'm starting to think those put themselves first are the ones who get what they want; not those like me who put others first and then get crushed when nobody sees or appreciates them.

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