Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl made its way into my hands by loan from my cousin-in-law Hayley who assured me it was my kind of book.
In a world saturated by false idealised versions of reality thanks to social media, advertising, and ironically named “selfies” – which in my experience seem to depict anything other than an actual “self” – Dunham’s autobiography is blissfully refreshing. Her no frills honesty spoke volumes to me as I found myself relating to so many of her sentiments and experiences. Ultimately what I found it brought me though was the hilarious acknowledgement and relief that my manic and sometimes tragic journey into womanhood so far, is no more so than her own. And if that’s not a criterion for some form of success or signifier of normality, then what is? The reality is, we’re all fucked.
With no holds barred, her accounts are hilariously human and rightfully ignorant of taboo topics and phrases as she details gross sexual encounters and divulges embarrassing truths we’ve all shared but been too scared to admit: not Lena Dunham.
I too have wondered where my true friends are, been out with a marathon of jerks, and failed to understand why more people can’t talk about sex without feeling even remotely awkward. (It honestly perplexes me. We’re nearly all doing it or thinking about it after all…)
I recommend this book to any woman, and all sixteen year olds (sadly, at 25, I’ve already made all of the mistakes Dunham is trying to spare us), but also to any man wondering what it’s like to be a girl growing up in this world.
Dunham’s abrasive dealings in her writing with those she’s encountered and fell to disliking certainly makes you aware that you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her, else you might find yourself named and shamed in an upcoming book or play, and for a moment it struck me as harsh in some instances that she would write so openly and unreservedly about these people and their wrongdoings. After all, there are two sides to every story. But in the end I concluded that what really struck me about this approach was her bravery. When I’m feeling bruised or worse, cut, by people or events, I write about them in poetry and prose, hiding their names and my pain in metaphors and similes. But Dunham doesn’t hide. And why should she? Why should I?
So, thank you Lena Dunham for sharing with me your uncensored autobiography. It has made my reflections on my journey to 25 feel a little less shameful and potentially even less manic than I originally perceived them to be. I salute your womanhood.