Not That Kind of Girl review

January 6, 2015

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was pretty excited when the little book with a big side portion of controversy became available from the library. I don’t watch Girls, but I was interested in a memoir from a young woman who has accomplished so much.

First, the controversy: if the incident with her little sister is now called sexual assault, may as well round up every little kid I grew up with, because looking and poking and curiosity was rampant. But she admits at the very beginning of the book that she is an unreliable narrator, and her facts do slide around a bit. As in the case of Barry and the rape. In one telling, it was an uncomfortable encounter. In the other, it was unwanted. It’s up to us (and a bunch of media, apparently) to figure it out.

Secondly, privilege: Yup, she was pretty monied, and had access to great schools and ran in upper-class circles. (and lots of therapy) So she can say “I wore my grandmother’s Dior” and I can’t. Does that make her words less valuable? No.

The memoir was divided into themes: Love & Sex, Body, Friendship, Work and Big Picture. There are short essays and numbered lists. Some of the writing is super-tight, and some of it is pretty sloppy. The cute illustrations made me chuckle.

She talks about writing, and anxiety, and the awkwardness of growing up. And about finding her voice. These are all things that transcend money.

In my favorite line, Dunham about her grandmother’s sister, Doad, and the memoir she wrote…

“She did it not for glory but for posterity – spare, practical prose designed simply to get the information out, to prove that she was there and that she is still here.”

Isn’t that why any of us write, sing, paint?

Anyway, you’ll hate this book if you’re uncomfortable with lots of sex talk. Otherwise, give it a shot.

This was the 41st book I read in 2014. View all my reviews on Goodreads!

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