by Kristine Malicse, contributor
The name Lena Dunham has become a household name for the modern “millennial” feminist or women who missed out on the “Sex and the City” franchise.
Dunham is not one to shy away from controversial topics on her show, along with her much talked about openness to nudity. The 28-year-old creator of the HBO show “Girls” released her first book, “Not That Kind of Girl,” which doubles as an autobiography and advice column for young women.
Her book offers insight into her life, her innermost thoughts, her very detailed sexual encounters and lessons from her parents.
In a recent interview with NPR, Dunham explained that while she may overshare some of her most personal moments in life, the desire to do so may be challenging.
“I’ve thought about this a lot because it’s a challenging thing when you’re a person who has a desire, or let’s say a compulsion, to share facts about your personal life,” Dunham said. “If that’s the way you process the world — is to make creative content based on your personal life — then you have to be really careful about making yourself too exposed…”
The book is divided into five parts: Love & Sex, Body, Friendship, Work and Big Picture. In several interviews, Dunham claims that her character in the show, Hannah Horvath, is loosely based on her own life but is completely different from her real-life self. The book disproves this claim.
The first section, Love & Sex, makes the reader feel like they are reading Horvath’s diary instead of Dunham’s personal experiences. Yet, her attempt of trying to sound helpful and lead women into making wiser decisions, comes off as pretentious. At a point, some of her sexual experiences felt more of a brag and feeling second hand embarrassment, rather than eye-opening.
The Body section dedicates two pages of her actual food diary with all her calorie intake, and some notes about her diet that ironically enough, made her sick. Throughout the book, she creates lists of things she regrets telling people, which is difficult to relate to. Overall, most of her anecdotes and advice are so over the top that it felt as though it was a script for the upcoming season.
Dunham briefly discusses topics that she is known for, such as feminism, and her comfort of being naked in front of the camera on her hit show “Girls.” Dunham even talks about how her mother invented the “selfie” and how those photos empowered her.
The Friendship section was bearable but still hard to comprehend, as Dunham likes to go back and forth between childhood and her adult life. Everything in the five sections will almost always lead up to a sexual innuendo or scenario. Dunham justifies many of her sexual situations from a lack of confidence, and had no trouble describing in great detail about how good-looking each of her sexual partners were.
Work and Big Picture were two different sections that should have been renamed “I’m so complex that my own parents and therapists don’t understand me.” Dunham discusses her sister’s coming out process which somehow became Dunham’s emotional breakdown. The line of her character’s neurotic behavior and Dunham’s experiences begins to blur. Many of her stories and experiences are bits and pieces of episodes, and redundant to those who watch the show.
“Not That Kind of Girl” is a book not intended for women under 18. While phobias of cancer, uncertainty of the future and death are relatable, her party experiences and her “bed-sharing” ideas are not. It’s definitely witty and has Dunham’s brand of honesty, overshare and quirkiness.
However, it fails to give actual advice or even a look on her creative process. It was lackluster in providing the reader on how to deal with life during college, after college and quality dating advice.
The book was more about Dunham’s story of how she was able to always make everything about her, and her parent’s ability to spend thousands on therapists and a psychic. Overall, Dunham’s book is nothing new to those who watch “Girls” or have seen one of her interviews. It’s better to just stick with the show.