So much has been said about this book and its author that I hardly need to add my own sentiments to the mix. But, I will. I love Lena Dunham, I’ll start off with that. When people were freaking out about how big her advance was for this book, sure, I may have been a tiny bit jealous but mostly I was psyched. When women in their twenties get paid a whole bunch of money, it is usually for making pop music or acting in a blockbuster, not for writing books. In fact, giving any literary writer a lot of money to write a book seemed like a victory! (Yes, I said literary. I think this book was pretty literary! Also pop-y and chatty, of course, but smart and complicated).
Not That Kind of Girl is divided into five sections: “Love and Sex,” “Body,” “Friendship,” “Work,” and “Big Picture.” If I’d had to guess before reading the book, I would have guessed that “Friendship” or “Work” would have been the section I was most drawn to, probably followed by “Body.” In fact, “Love and Sex” was the best, I think, followed by “Big Picture.” My least favorite section was “Work.” I think it could have been the most interesting because Lena Dunham’s work life is pretty singular. Many young women have tangles with shitty men, issues with their bodies and eating, barbed friendships and thoughts on camp (both in the conventional and the Sontag usage). Pretty much only Lena Dunham makes a bid-deal feature film and then scores an HBO series by the time she’s twenty-five. But rather than focus too much on her very particular, completely fascinating ascent to major cultural figure, she writes about, for example, the job she had at a kid’s clothing store. She may have been trying to relate to ordinary readers by playing down her extraordinariness, but by calling a section of her book “Work,” she set up the expectation that we’d get to read about her work, not just her jobs. Read the rest of this entry »