Title: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Lena Dunham
Quotation: “You’ve learned a new rule and it’s simple: don’t put yourself in situations you’d like to run away from.”
Would recommend to: anyone who needs to feel like they aren’t alone.
Lena Dunham is the creator and writer of Girls, the hit show on HBO that follows the crazy lives of four girls in the city.
Not That Kind of Girl was published in 2014 and hit #2 on The New York Times Best Sellers List after just one month on the market, and I can see why.
I’ve been meaning to read this book for years, and when I finally got it I was thrilled. I wanted to see what advice I could get from someone “different” or “edgy” or someone who “doesn’t fit the norm.” I thought I had a lot to learn. (It turns out I didn’t, but it’s always nice to be reminded of why you don’t need to be friends with the creepy guy in your German class or that you should in fact eat the last Oreo in the packet before heading off to bed at 3 a.m.)
Ever since reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler, I’ve loved books like Dunham’s. It’s essentially a collection of short stories involving anecdotes about Dunham’s life along with lessons learned and quippy remarks about how to live a better, happier life.
The greatest thing about Dunham’s book is the sheer honesty of it all. She doesn’t just talk about the bad stuff like every good memoir does, but she also talks about the potentially embarrassing and weird stuff (though I don’t think Dunham knows the meaning of either word), like learning how to masturbate at age eight or platonic bed sharing with male friends way past college.
The book is broken up into sections including love, friendship and work. Readers learn about Dunham’s life before she was a star, while she’s a kid, in a college, and even about that embarrassing time she worked in an over-priced baby clothing shop. Every moment she catalogs brought her to where she is today. It’s an amazing story about how every choice we make and chance we take leads up to where we are supposed to be in life.
I’m not sure what Dunham’s intentions were when writing this book, but I found solace in knowing I’m not alone when it comes to having strange fears as a kid (dying in our sleep) or questioning whether we really should have spent so much time pursuing that guy that really wasn’t that good for us. I think a lot of readers can find comfort in books like Dunham’s because they remind us of all the things we already knew about life or ourselves, and they say it in a funnier way than we ever could.
Reading Not That Kind of Girl felt like reading a book my best friend wrote. It was personal. It was real. It was written so simply with a hint of sarcasm and advice in every chapter. It really was just a joy to read.
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