Monday 24 November 2014

Review: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.

“Take My Virginity (No Really, Take It)” is the account of Dunham’s first time, and how her expectations of sex didn’t quite live up to the actual event (“No floodgate had been opened, no vault of true womanhood unlocked”); “Girls & Jerks” explores her former attraction to less-than-nice guys—guys who had perfected the “dynamic of disrespect” she found so intriguing; “Is This Even Real?” is a meditation on her lifelong obsession with death and dying—what she calls her “genetically predestined morbidity.” And in “I Didn’t F*** Them, but They Yelled at Me,” she imagines the tell-all she will write when she is eighty and past caring, able to reflect honestly on the sexism and condescension she has encountered in Hollywood, where women are “treated like the paper thingies that protect glasses in hotel bathrooms—necessary but infinitely disposable.”

Exuberant, moving, and keenly observed, Not That Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up. “I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you,” Dunham writes. “But if I can take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile.”

Review: I listened to this bo on audiobook and it was read by the author. I always enjoy when books are read by their author because I think it makes them really come to life, being read exactly as they're meant to be read/heard. I did really enjoy this book, it was a nice quick read and the structure made it very easy to listen to. The book itself is made up up mainly anecdotes toed together with major life events and so that made it easier to listen to as well. 

I'm not a massive fan or this writer/actress especially but I knew I wanted to read this book because it contains real feminist thinking and total take control of your life honesty. This writer doesn't have it all, she's never had it all and so I really respect what she has to say. There are some absolutely hilarious moments in the book alongside some emotional moments. There was a low point in the book where basically  Lena Dunham is just reading out her food diary, the items and the calories they contain and I found this part a bit boring, I think I would definitely have skipped over this if I were reading it in paper form. 

I think this book isn't just for women, however. I think guys would enjoy the humour in this book and perhaps learn something about women and relationships as well! The book is frank and honest so if you are easily offended then you might not enjoy some of the full-on detail and crude language but I find that kind of honesty refreshing and I loved the no holds barred attitude. This isn't really a full-on autobiography, neither is it a novel, it's a collection of anecdotes thrown together with some life lessons and some very thought provoking points of view. If you like the sound of that then you will really enjoy this book but if you are looking for something that fits fully into a box then this might not be for you. In my opinion though, a great Christmas present and a great read! 

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