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Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" Hardcover – September 30, 2014
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2014: In an era where twenty-something women are told how to think, where to work, who to date, and what to wear, it’s refreshing that a voice has broken the mold to empower women to do one thing—be yourself, flaws and all. In Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham takes readers on a voyage of self-discovery as she successfully navigates the often-perilous facets of womanhood, from dating and friendships to self-love and careers. Through her series of essays, Dunham shares what she’s learned on her path to self-awareness with a refreshing candor and raw honesty that emboldens readers. Her painfully-relatable stories of graduating from one-night stands with toxic men and dead-end jobs with no purpose, to loving relationships and a fulfilling career will leave you laughing, cringing, and sighing “me too.” Thoughtful, hilarious, and exquisitely-written, Dunham’s memoir is like reading your quirky big sister's diary. –Brittany Pirozzolo
“The gifted [Lena] Dunham not only writes with observant precision, but also brings a measure of perspective, nostalgia and an older person’s sort of wisdom to her portrait of her (not all that much) younger self and her world. . . . As acute and heartfelt as it is funny.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“It’s not Lena Dunham’s candor that makes me gasp. Rather, it’s her writing—which is full of surprises where you least expect them. A fine, subversive book.”—David Sedaris
“This book should be required reading for anyone who thinks they understand the experience of being a young woman in our culture. I thought I knew the author rather well, and I found many (not altogether welcome) surprises.”—Carroll Dunham
“Witty, illuminating, maddening, bracingly bleak . . . [Dunham] is a genuine artist, and a disturber of the order.”—The Atlantic
“As [Lena] Dunham proves beyond a shadow of a doubt in Not That Kind of Girl, she’s not remotely at risk of offering up the same old sentimental tales we’ve read dozens of times. Dunham’s outer and inner worlds are so eccentric and distinct that every anecdote, every observation, every mundane moment of self-doubt actually feels valuable and revelatory.”—The Los Angeles Review of Books
“We are forever in search of someone who will speak not only to us but for us. . . . Not That Kind of Girl is from that kind of girl: gutsy, audacious, willing to stand up and shout. And that is why Dunham is not only a voice who deserves to be heard but also one who will inspire other important voices to tell their stories too.”—Roxane Gay, Time
“I’m surprised by how successful this was. I couldn’t finish it.”—Laurie Simmons
“Always funny, sometimes wrenching, these essays are a testament to the creative wonder that is Lena Dunham.”—Judy Blume
“An offbeat and soulful declaration that Ms. Dunham can deliver on nearly any platform she chooses.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Very few women have become famous for being who they actually are, nuanced and imperfect. When honesty happens, it’s usually couched in self-ridicule or self-help. Dunham doesn’t apologize like that—she simply tells her story as if it might be interesting. The result is shocking and radical because it is utterly familiar. Not That Kind of Girl is hilarious, artful, and staggeringly intimate; I read it shivering with recognition.”—Miranda July
“Dunham’s writing is just as smart, honest, sophisticated, dangerous, luminous, and charming as her work on Girls. Reading her makes you glad to be in the world, and glad that she’s in it with you.”—George Saunders
“A lovely, touching, surprisingly sentimental portrait of a woman who, despite repeatedly baring her body and soul to audiences, remains a bit of an enigma: a young woman who sets the agenda, defies classification and seems utterly at home in her own skin.”—Chicago Tribune
“A lot of us fear we don’t measure up beautywise and that we endure too much crummy treatment from men. On these topics, Dunham is funny, wise, and, yes, brave. . . . Among Dunham’s gifts to womankind is her frontline example that some asshole may call you undesirable or worse, and it won’t kill you. Your version matters more.”—Elle
“[Not That Kind of Girl is] witty and wise and rife with the kind of pacing and comedic flourishes that characterize early Woody Allen books. . . . Dunham is an extraordinary talent, and her vision . . . is stunningly original.”—Meghan Daum, The New York Times Magazine
“There’s a lot of power in retelling your mistakes so people can see what’s funny about them—and so that you are in control. Dunham knows about this power, and she has harnessed it.”—The Washington Post
“Dunham’s book is one of those rare examples when something hyped deserves its buzz. Those of us familiar with her wit and weirdness on HBO’s Girls will experience it in spades in these essays. . . . There are hilarious moments here—I cracked up on a crowded subway reading an essay about her childhood—and disturbing ones, too. But it’s always heartfelt and very real.”—New York Post
“We are comforted, we are charmed, we leave more empowered than we came.”—NPR
“Touching, at times profound, and deeply funny . . . Dunham is expert at combining despair and humor.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Most of us live our lives desperately trying to conceal the anguishing gap between our polished, aspirational, representational selves and our real, human, deeply flawed selves. Dunham lives hers in that gap, welcomes the rest of the world into it with boundless openheartedness, and writes about it with the kind of profound self-awareness and self-compassion that invite us to inhabit our own gaps and maybe even embrace them a little bit more, anguish over them a little bit less.”—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
“Reading this book is a pleasure. . . . [These essays] exude brilliance and insight well beyond Dunham’s twenty-eight years.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
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Top Customer Reviews
The title is also misleading, as Lena does not appear to have learned very much, or rather, she doesn't take much interest in imparting her knowledge to her readers. This book has primarily taught me that Lena Dunham is excruciatingly self-obsessed and lacking virtually any self-awareness. She appears to believe that her musings on virtually anything are nothing short of brilliant, no matter how dull and irrelevant the subject matter. The reprinting of several pages of her food diary is perhaps the best illustration of this --a verbatim regurgitation of what she ate for about a week while she was allegedly on a 'diet' (it's really just a pretty standard day's eating for most people) is supposed to communicate what exactly? Her attempts to make even the most mundane interactions with her family appear so powerfully meaningful are odd. The part where she retells a story about how she and her father got stuck in a traffic jam and experienced frustration because, well, they were in a traffic jam is a perfect example of this.
In this book, Lena seems consumed by a pressing need to convince you that she feels so many more emotions, so much more intensely than anyone else. She sees quirks and eccentricities in people that others simply cannot comprehend, and you, the reader, need to know that. She is just so brilliant, you guys, don't you see that from all of her deep introspections on how we're all going to die eventually so what's the point?! Lena is so overwhelmed by herself in this book that you can't help but feel like you're suffocating while reading it.
This book has killed my love affair with all things Lena Dunham. I admire the work she has done in film and television, no question, and she's an extremely talented writer in both of those genres. I don't think, however, that she can write at the level required to sustain an entire book.
I will view Lena Dunham from afar from now on. I've thrown out all of those once-hoarded magazines, and although I still love Girls and will await every new season with much anticipation, I'll watch it from now on with a degree of detachment.
I hated it. She seems so selfish, self-involved, self-consumed, etc. I felt so uncomfortable reading this book, because it felt like I was learning more about an acquaintance in a negative sense.
Lena Dunham has made it transparent that she identifies as a feminist. In her talk show interviews, she openly discusses her pride of identifying as a feminist. I identify feminism to be about women empowerment, equal rights, and identifying women as whole without masculine partners. If you do so too, you will find this book almost hypocritical.
Oh Lena, Lena, if you form a fan base revolving around feminism, why was your WHOLE BOOK about men and failed relationships? You made it seem as if your whole life has revolved around men and their impacts on your life! Where were the great stories about your wild nights. About you great, supportive friends that you seem to duplicate in your show? Why was the whole book about men, insecurities, and a continuous journey for love.
I'm sorry, but this book left me feeling unfulfilled. I felt empty of Lena's vigor and passion. Sure, there were a few quotes here and there that were noteworthy, but none were epic and "wow Lena knows me and I would consider tattooing this on my back" type of quotes that I expected to rid the pages of this book.
Therefore, if you are looking for a book that tells a coming of age story about an alternative, independent, and feministic woman, I'm sorry this is not it.