Not That Kind of Girl explores life, sex and death
Last week, Lena Dunham’s much anticipated first book Not that Kind of Girl arrived in stores. With it, the 28-year-old creator, writer and producer of the HBO series Girls delivered an inspiring memoir.
Not That Kind of Girl contains a collection of essays, all sewn together by different leading topics. With vivid details and very colourful words she recounts her stories, some going back to her childhood.
This book was born from her desire to share her missteps and the lessons she acquired. As the subtitle of the book reads: “a young woman tells you what she’s ‘learned.’” As the carefully used quotations marks suggest, she doesn’t pretend to be an expert on anything.
Dunham gets her creative side from her parents, who are both artists. She recalls the frustration she felt as a third grade student, when she wished she could spend time with them in their studios instead of going to school. There’s no doubt that she had a wild imagination as a child—enough to think about disease and death, which terrified her at a young age. Dunham was also inspired to write and create a world of her own.
Today, she doesn’t hesitate to share on paper the weird, awkward, funny and sad moments that have influenced her. She addresses topics such as sex, body image, her mental health issues, her struggles in Hollywood as a woman and what it is like to search for and find love nowadays.
As always, Dunham’s honesty is brutal. But maybe this is exactly what people need in a time when picture-perfect lives are painted on big and small screens. When given the chance to make Girls, she decided to address this issue head-on: she had always been irritated by the way sex was presented in movies and television.
“Everything I saw as a child, from 90210 to The Bridges of Madison County, had led me to believe that sex was a cringey, warmly lit event where two smooth-skinned, gooey-eyed losers achieved mutual orgasm by breathing on each other’s faces,” she writes in her book. “Between porn and studio romantic comedies, we get the message loud and clear that we are doing something wrong. Our bedsheets aren’t right. Our moves aren’t right. Our bodies aren’t right.”
Girls fans will certainly recognize her unsettling yet ever so funny sense of humour. Even people—perhaps a more feminine audience—who have never watched a single episode will relate to her book, with Dunham’s words reflecting their choices as human beings, students, daughters, sisters and women. This book is a glimpse inside Dunham’s world; a glimpse definitely worth taking.
For more information on Not that Kind of Girl, visit lenadunham.com.