Lena Dunham – Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned

I tried watching “Girls” a while ago. Didn’t quite get to like it and I just left it for, maybe, some other time. Now I really want to give it another try because of this book I recently read. Also, being a HBO TV show it isn’t an easy thing to like. You have to go through a few episodes to get into it. Now, “Girls” is in its 4th season and I want to jump on the bandwagon. Lena Dunham is the creator of and also plays in the TV series “Girls”. In 2013, Lena Dunham was named one of Time’s most influential people in the world. Seems like a legit person to look up to, right? Or at least find out what she is doing right and learned from her.

For some time now, I have been trying to remember where I actually heard the thing I’m about to mention regarding Lena Dunham that made me see her differently because it struck a chord then and it still is now in the sense that it gets me motivated although I don’t know how true it is. Some acquaintance of hers said that she always carries a notebook with her and is constantly writing. I was like “Wow!”. That is one dedicated, motivated young woman. I want to be a better writer and a habit like that is a habit I should acquire. Then I found out that she actually released a book and I immediately thought that that was a book I have to read. So when Amazon had a special offer on her book, Kindle version, I immediately downloaded it.

“Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned” is mostly a collection of essays. Lena Dunham shared her life experiences ranging from love, sex, career, friendship and body related issues and also lists like “13 things I’ve learned are not okay to say to friends” and “15 things I learned from my mother”. She also writes about failures and successes (but mostly failure), embarrassing stories, being vulnerable, revealing fears and an addiction to a therapist, stories about relationships, childhood and puberty, transitioning from college life to adult life and finding a reliable partner in life.

Just like an HBO TV show, her writing style takes some used to. Because she is brutally honest, doesn’t really hold back from sometimes revealing embarrassing, cringe-y details. She gets personal and shares her sex experiences just like she shares a heart-warming story about her family. As descriptive as possible. But she is also funny, and surprisingly at many times very relatable. Her essays are not at all pretentious. She doesn’t take herself very seriously even though she has her issues, many of them written in detail. Lena shares her fears and more specifically her fear of death and also how her dad enjoys talking about this subject once he is comfortable enough. What I also like about her writing is how self-aware she is and how no awkward situation or failure gets by without her analysing it in a characteristic way and letting you know what she’s learned, how she adapted and moved on.

Basically, the more I got into the book, the more I liked it and appreciated it. Keep in mind that this was not an author I already liked, because as I mentioned before, “Girls” is not (yet) my cup of tea. But I will surely give it another chance. Just like I will to any book Lena Dunham writes from now on, even her memoir that she said she’ll write when she’s 80 and all the Hollywood people she knows will probably be dead, so she can reveal other embarrassing and funny stories about her experiences.

It is an achievement the way she analyses her 20 something years of life and makes me wonder what her list of things learned will be when she is 80.

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