Monday, 2 March 2015

What to read: Not That Kind of Girl - Lena Dunham

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told,” writes Lena Dunham, and it certainly takes guts to share the stories that make up her debut memoir, Not That Kind of Girl.

Fans of Lena’s will know already, she is queen of the outrageous one-liner.

“I am twenty years old and I hate myself,” are the opening words of the book; from a writer who uses pure self-loathing to mask her incessant narcissism.

Written in typical Dunham fashion, the book is disguised as an advice column in how to navigate the tribulations and awkwardness of girlhood. She delivers a candid and sincere reflection of the experiences that molded her young self into the empowering, confident and outspoken woman she is today.

Clustered into five main sections - Love & Sex, Body, Friendship, Work and Big Picture - the series of short essays provide insightful, and sometimes cringe-inducing, reflections on Dunham’s key life experiences.

Being an avid Girls fan, I waited patiently for months until her memoir finally hit the shelves. Having finished binge-watching Season three of the show in March, I desperately needed my Dunham fix. I had high expectations for the wild, witty, and warm girl I had grown to respect on screen – and in no way did she disappoint.

It is loaded with frank and intimate accounts that draw similarity to the trials faced by the fictional Hannah. She crafts a revealing, unfiltered, graphic and at times uncomfortable description of what she has learned thus far.

Before she was a sensation, Dunham was a 9-year-old vowing to be celibate; a 14-year-old playing dead at an all-girl sleepover, and the one girl sporting a tankini at an Oberlin University party.

It may seem like I’m gushing about this woman, but from my perspective, Lena’s likability stems from the fact that she doesn’t fit into a traditional celebrity mold. She is loud, unruly, imperfect, and some might say even a little gross. She speaks openly about feminism and sexuality, without apology, and for the majority of the book she is so wildly inappropriate, you don’t know whether to keep reading or slam the book down from embarrassment. Ironically, it is these unique qualities that I believe make her one of the most relatable celebrities to date.

I asked my friend the same question: ‘What is it that you like about Not That Kind of Girl”, to which she replied “her memoir just feels like an extension of the show and we get to dive in a little deeper into her personality – that, and she’s just so raw and hilarious, what’s not to love about her!”

Whether you have seen Girls or not, this book gives you access into the quirky mind and experiences that created one of Hollywood’s hottest comedic talents.

Not That Kind of Girl is from that kind of girl: bold, gutsy, ambitious and willing to stand out. This is why Dunham is not only a voice who deserves to be heard but one that will continue to shock, thrill and will most likely, continue to surprise us all.

- our thanks to Sophie Buchan for the guest post!

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