Lena Dunham – Not That Kind of Girl

I came into this book with high hopes for a biography of an intriguing woman. I was given a Girls Series 1 & 2 boxset for Christmas this year and I remember quite liking it, although it occurs to me now that I never finished series 2, which is possibly telling of how much I really (dis)liked it.

My impression of Dunham after finishing this book is of an egotistical, entitled young woman who doesn’t believe that anything she does wrong could ever be her fault. I found the book very whiny in tone, and for huge chunks of the book, she was so up herself I’m surprised she could even reach her keyboard to continue writing.

I thought the book would be an honest account of growing up in New York with already famous parents and growing into a major player in American TV, all while not conforming to traditional hollywood ideals of beauty, but after finishing the book, it didn’t feel like half the things she wrote about were even true, some stories were so far-fetched that they must be made up, surely?

Before starting, I’d read a little about some of the ‘controversial’ stories in the book, but to be honest, if they did actually happen, it was just a case of a young girl being curious as young girls are. Nothing inappropriate here, move along please. The innapropriateness, I found, came from her being seemingly unable to take the blame for situations that got out of control.

Every sexual/romantic encounter that she wasn’t happy with took on a tone of assault/accusation towards the man involved. And obviously, if that’s what happened, then it was terrible, but I got the feeling that a lot of facts were glossed over to try and portray Dunham in the best light.

I don’t remember a single point while reading this book where it didn’t feel like Dunham was shouting ‘Look at me, look at how edgy and cool I am’. I just couldn’t take it anymore, and from 70 pages into the book, I was just desperate to get to the end so I could move on and put this book far behind me. I hate to give up on a book halfway through because some do manage to redeem themselves by the end, but I truly had to slog to get to the final page of this one.

I admit, I’m probably not the target audience for this book, so maybe that was to blame. Yes, I am a 20-something woman, but I think I have the brain of a 60-something, more happy sitting in and reading with a cup of tea than going out, drinking and taking drugs to have a good time. So I imagine that while many people would love this book, I’m just not one of them.


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