Mittwoch, 13. Mai 2015

Book Review: Thoughts on Lena Dunham's "Not That Kind of Girl"

I just finished reading Not that kind of a girl: a young woman tells you what she's learned and I'm not entirely sure what to think about it.

The first time I saw the cover of this book I instantly fell in love. I just really like this pink and black script on a white background, no wonder it's hyped on Instagram. I have to admit that I didn't know who Lena Dunham is before, shame on me. Apparently this Girls type did completely go unnoticed in my world. For anyone else being clueless who this Lena is, here's what Wikipedia says:

Lena Dunham (/ˈlinə ˈdʌnəm/ lee-nə dun-um; born May 13, 1986)[1] is an American actress, author, screenwriter, producer, and director.[2] She wrote and directed the independent film Tiny Furniture (2010), and is the creator, writer and star of the HBO series Girls. She has received eight nominations for Emmy Awards as a writer, director, actress and producer and won two Golden Globe Awards for Girls. Dunham is the first woman to win a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series.

If that isn't enough for you to build a picture in your head (it hopefully isn't cause it really doesn't say that much about her as a person) go watch this interview in which she talks about her book. One statement made me wonder in there, namely "I really wanted to get back into that intimate relationship with a page that you have as a writer" which she tells us about quite in the beginning of the video. She describes her book as some kind of diary collection and I think that really is the point I didn't enjoy reading it so much. 

Okay, so far so good. We now know a bit more about Lena Dunham's success and what she looks and talks like. So this young lady isn't so young after all. Maybe I'm a bit old-fashioned, but I wouldn't consider a 28-year-old-woman a girl. When it comes to the story of the book I had the feeling that the narrator never really left the mindset of a 12 year old girl, so it fits in that sense. 

I really wanted to like this book, but I didn't. 

It became my sleep aid in the very worst sense possible. I'd consider myself a fast reader, but it took me nearly 3 weeks to finish this rather big lettered, short story. It just didn't catch me at all. Of course, there are a few passages in there that seem funny and entertaining, but in the end they feel slightly enforced. 

If you haven't read this book and don't want to be spoilered this is the time to stop reading. I warned you. 

The probably most discussed and most striking quote in this book is the following: 
“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter.” (p. xvi)

I couldn't agree more, sadly the book takes another direction after the first chapter. There are stories worth being told and I'm convinced that these don't have to involve an inner monologue about problematic sex issues every 3 pages. Problem is, she even admits in the book that she invents details to nearly every story in this book. That just makes them implausible and of course, that doesn't have to be a bad thing at all, it's just not what I expected. The stories are too unreal to be true and that made me question the purpose of the stories as a whole. 

Another problem I had with the book was that it seemed unorganized and not thoroughly planned. I get that it should have the effect of short essays and diary entries, but there were just too many confusing mistakes. For example friends in college whom she never heard from again become best friends at the end of the book. At one point she needs therapy because of some strange sex issues she has in the age of 13! and later describes her 7th grade as successful, in which she had two popular boyfriends. It just disturbs the reading flow and makes it hard to believe that she herself believes what she wrote. 

I really don't want to drag this book in the mud, but I certainly can't recommend reading it either. 

What are your thoughts on the book? Did you like it? I'd love to hear your opinion. 




  1. This book is on my to-read list & I have mixed feelings about reading it because I've read both ILOVETHISBOOK to ERRRIDONTGETTHISBOOK kind of reviews online. I love Lena, she inspires me. I better give it a read after my exams.

    1. Thanks for commenting! (: I bet you'll like it as a fan of her, because the writing style really isn't that bad and there definitely are good passages in there. And it's always better to give it a go and get you're own opinion about it when you're struggling. I'd love to hear whether you liked it!

  2. I think Lena Dunham is the type of writer you either love or don't. I completely understand what you are saying about her child-ish or girl like tendencies at age 28 but I think that is why I enjoy her writing because it's almost a satire in it self. The spoiled girl who never quite realizes that the world is not as easy as her sheltered bringing and poor college decisions lead her to believe. I think it embodies so many people I have met in my past, I also enjoy Girls for the same reason. Great post as I have yet to read this one.

    xx Falasha

    Bite My Fashion ll Instagram ll Bloglovin'

    1. Hey Falasha! Thank you for sharing your opinion (: It still surprises me every time there's a new comment on one of my posts, like there are people like you out there really reading my entries, so thanks for that! I think you really bring the story of that book to the point, even though you didn't read it haha. It certainly reminds me of a satire, too. Hopefully you'll make better experiences than I did (:


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