I, like many of you, (I’m sure) love Lena Dunham. For me, her burst onto the scene was like a collective sigh for women everywhere who have, for as long as they can remember, always felt a little wince of ‘I’m not good enough’ every time they turned on the TV or opened a magazine. And it’s not that Dunham isn’t pretty, it’s more that she seems to be more real… More like one of us. Not so pruned and pumped to perfection. Someone that you might know, or someone you might want to.
I clearly got into Girls right away. If not only to support a young female writer, director and producer, but also because I love a good show about girlfriends set in New York… And though I cringed a few times (who knew I was so provincial) I was thrilled at the way Dunham unapologetically put it all out there and forced us to collectively take a good look at what we accept as viewers and consumers and why.
And then she got a book deal. A pretty darn good one at that (writers rejoice! There IS money in publishing). And again, I waited with baited breath for what was next to come. And again, Dunham brought it.
Not That Kind Of Girl is a memoir and though some would argue that one should have at least lived a little before writing their life story, after chapter one (Take My Virginity, No, Really, Take It), it is very clear that this lady has lived.
A New Yorker, born and bred, Dunham grew up in Soho. Raised by artist parents in a loft with one sister, Dunham’s upbringing was seemingly normal. It’s her experiences and how she interprets life that pushes you to turn the page. Her love affair with a ‘boy’ on the internet that she never meets who then subsequently dies from a ‘meth overdose’, who then magically reappears unscathed for example. Or her lists like ’13 Things I’ve Learned Are Not Ok To Say To Friends’ or ‘My Top 10 Health Concerns’, are hilarious yet totally relatable.
The one part in the book that struck me the most was Dunham’s recounting of a time she was raped. At first she describes it with shame, in a way far too many women do. Then she tells the story again, this time truthfully. It was one of those rare moments in storytelling that so truthfully illuminates a real life horror – shedding light in such a way that provokes with such absolute power. Again, forcing the reader to take stalk of not only telling but what said telling illuminates as a result.
There are so many great moments in this book from downright hilarious to incredibly strange. I encourage any of you who are into memoirs to grab a copy. It’s just another example of why Lena’s here to stay. Believe the hype.