Vulgar, candid, absolutely hilarious and grippingly dark at times pretty much sums up Not That Kind Of Girl. In her memoir, Lena ‘voice of her generation’ Dunham imparts wit and cultural significance.
Famous for being the creator and star of HBO’s comedy series, Girls, Lena Dunham declares in one of her chapters, “performing in sex scenes that I direct, exposing a flash of my weird puffy nipple, those things don’t fall into my zone of terror.” So is self-exposing her whole being (well, at least 28 years of it) in a book, it seems.
Not That Kind of Girl is a compilation of essays; lists; a journal chronicling her food diary; emails; and, an inventory of her handbag. Divided in five sections, it acquaints readers about what she’s ‘learned’ hoping they’d avoid the same mistakes through an unmitigated oversharing of her flaws, usually about sex – she describes an early experience as “shoving a loofah into a Mason jar.”
Her comical flair can be compared to Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me. Meanwhile, her ballsy tell-all and political attitude is much closer to Caitlin Moran’s in How To Be A Woman.
With unfading self-deprecating humour, she describes herself as a constant worrier to the point of anxiety while also being terrified of mortality at a tender age. She also relates intimacy from chapters which tell of her sister’s coming out; highly relatable details of her relationships in Girls & Jerks; and a ghastly case of date rape in Barry. Consistent is her innate ability to make jibes at problematic societal norms by jumping around issues about body image, self-confidence, menstruation – with reference to her wonky uterus, sexism and feminism.
Dunham’s memoir – with its tales, warnings, advise and empowerment – proves wrong “That personal writing by women is no more than an exercise in vanity and that we should appreciate this new world for women, sit down, and shut up.” She did it, by telling her story.