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Friday, January 1, 2016

Not That Kind of Girl | Lena Dunham

“When someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it you start to mean less to yourself.”

Genre: Memoir/Feminism.
Number of Pages: 265.
Perspective: First.
Location: Ohio/New York.

Not That Kind of Girl is a series of essays by the actress/writer Lena Dunham. For a complete summary, you can go here.

This was a book that made me cringe more than a few times. And not in a good way. I listened to this as an audiobook with my husband on the way back from our holiday trip. Let’s just say that he was horrified by the chapter on Lena’s periods and uterus issues. That was his breaking point and he refused to listen to the rest of the book. Our other breaking point was when she lists in detail every item she’s eaten for a few weeks. If I was reading the book, I would have just skipped over that whole section. Unfortunately, we had to listen to it for 20+ minutes. At some point, we muted audio and checked back in 10 minutes later and she was still listing food. Why was that necessary? I felt like I was reading her food diary. 

I don’t often complain about fluffy, artsy-fartsy writing. But I am going to complain about it now. The way she wrote this book is not the way that any person speaks. This is the annoying writing that tries to add details and descriptions where they are not needed. Not every action and feeling needs to be a metaphor. She is trying to flaunt her writing background, and in the process, she is turning off the casual reader. 

Don’t be mistaken. This is not a novel. It can’t even really be considered a memoir. It is a series of haphazardly slapped together essays. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the chapters and stories, which leads to a lot of the same details being repeated throughout the book. This book would have been better kept as the private secrets within Lena’s diary. It’s a whole lot of personal stories and experiences, which generally revolved around her insecurities/worries that aren’t even true. I felt anxious hearing her talk. Also, I realized that she is exactly the same personality as her character “Hannah” in “Girls”. Just as crazy and strange and clueless about what is socially acceptable. 

I feel that this has to be mentioned—there is a chapter where Lena describes looking deep into her sister’s private area when she was just a baby. That part made me feel very uncomfortable, and it takes a lot to do that to me. She also does a lot of sexual activities to/around her young sister. A lot of people claim this is abuse and I am surprised that she decided to include this in her book. This is just an example of the cringe-worthy details Lena includes about her life.

This is a prime example of how being a celebrity can get you lots of book sales. It also shows that being a New York Times Bestseller does not mean it is a good book. Read at your own risk. If you are a male or are horrified by gory details about womanly functions and sex, don’t read this book. If by chance you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

“‘You will find,’ she says, ‘that there’s a certain grace to having your heart broken..’”

2/5 Stars

*****

o Amber Gregg